“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Most brethren desire to keep the unity of the Spirit in the church, but many times are not ready to do what is required individually and spiritually in order to have that unity. Paul wrote that a Christian must keep the unity, but before that can be done there are some personal spiritual requirements for each one involved.
First, a Christian must have an attitude of lowliness and gentleness within. The word lowliness could also be translated humility and so the characteristics of humility and gentleness are essential in the life of a Christian before there can be the unity of the Spirit within a congregation. Arrogance and running over a brother or sister in Christ will never produce unity of the Spirit, but it is only when there is a genuine humility of heart and gentleness of spirit found in the Christian. James asked a question; “Where do wars and fights come from among you” (James 4:1)? The implication is that “wars and fights” had caused problems and divisions in the body of Christ and represented the lack of humility and gentleness within the brethren. The unity of the Spirit in the church is certainly founded upon the Word of God, the sound doctrine (1 Corinthians 1:10), but after having the sound doctrine then the unity in the church among brethren that believe the same sound doctrine can only come about when there is humility and gentleness found within.
Second, a Christian must have “longsuffering” or another way to translate the word is “patience”. Coupled with the longsuffering and patience is love directed towards other brethren as Paul wrote, “with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). The apostle is providing a list of spiritual characteristics necessary and that are also found to be in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). Every Christian in every congregation that is mature spiritually will have these characteristics or giving a great effort to have them. If the Christian has humility, gentleness or meekness, patience, and love, then the result will be that of keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. However, when there is arrogance and selfishness in the lives of brethren then there will be divisions, fighting and complaining constantly over the most insignificant and nondoctrinal matters. Every Christian, taking the Word of God, must analyze one’s life and heart and give every effort so that humility, gentleness, patience, and love will have control.
Third, a Christian must understand the meaning of the word “keep”. The word keep is a word that implies “to make a decision and following through with action” in order that it might be accomplished. The “unity of the Spirit” can only be found among the children of God and will not be found in the world or a worldly mindset. The unity that is seen in the world quite often is not genuine but is built upon falseness and motives that are not real. Paul is encouraging members of the body of Christ to think and live in a manner that is not like the world but is eternal in nature. May each member of the Lord’s church strive to have the “unity of the Spirit in bond of peace”.