DNA is found in every cell of our body. It provides information necessary for an organism to develop, survive, grow and reproduce. It is an encoded plan, like a blueprint, telling the cell what role it plays in the body of the organism. DNA follows a set of universal rules that are highly complex and point to the genius of God. Rules play an important role in every aspect of life. Wherever people come together there are rules, and in order to avoid conflict, rules require that someone give up an element of freedom. In Ephesians Paul addresses the core DNA that must govern the Church as we come together as a body of believers. When these core elements prevail, the unity of the Spirit prevails and Christians as a Church as able to accomplish the purpose God intended—extending to those both inside and outside the faith—forgiveness, grace, mercy, acceptance, and love.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:1-3)
Paul addresses some of the most difficult things that we face in relationships. It is difficult to get along with others when we disapprove of their words, deeds, dress code or life style. Paul points our attention as Christians to replicate what Christ has done for us by striving “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” God’s invitation to us was wide open. He took us just the way we were. He forgave us of our sins, gave us what we did not deserve, did not give us what we did deserve, and accepted us unconditionally. We are to extend that same forgiveness and acceptance to those around us. In so doing the Church becomes a place where love abounds and the invitation of Christ is the focus of what we do, how we love, and how we receive each other and those outside the faith.
Are you more grace-oriented or judgmental? How do you respond to people who dress and act differently that you? Do you make a deliberate effort to reach out to people at church that you do not know? When you are at church do you tend to talk to and spend time with the same people every week? How does your interaction at church reflect the invitation Christ gave you?
Remember what Christ did for you! Take a look at your life outside your immediate household. Be intentional about extending to others the invitation of Christ with forgiveness, patience and love. Make a point each Sunday to talk with someone you do not know and get to know them (not just “hi, how are you today”). Learn their name, find out something about them and put them on your radar.
Dear God, thank you for inviting me to have a personal relationship with you! Thank you for accepting me just as I am and for your continued love, grace and patience with me as I grow in my spiritual life. May I continually stand in awe of what you have done for me, and help me to humbly accept and love others as you love and accept me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.