A great friend, sister-in-Christ, and accountability partner has a really neat bible study method. She picks a verse or passage and memorizes it, as well as digging into it to discover the context in which it was written and how to apply it to life today. She needed some accountability in this area so I am calling her on Fridays to discuss the verse of the week and make sure she has memorized it. I actually needed a method of memorizing scripture and love any opportunity to study scripture. Therefore, I decided to do the study with her and memorize the verse.
The verse for the first week is Ephesians 4:3, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace." In meditating on this verse, I am reminded of other verses that talk about being the pursuer of peace: Ps 34:14 and 1 Peter 3:11 which both say, "seek peace and pursue it." Also, there is the passage which talks about how God desires us to resolve any conflict within the body before we even bring Him gifts (Mathew 5:23). Since we are one within the body of Christ any conflict creates division and subtracts from the unity of the body. In reading my bible commentary, I learned that Paul was specifically speaking about the division between the Jews and Gentiles and encouraging the church of Ephesus to put aside this division, seek peace with one another, and become one under God. Although Paul was specifically writing about the division of Jews and Gentiles, I think this verse is also applicable to divisions of the church in modern days such as worship style, ministry methods, fundraising efforts, and management of church resources. These and many others can all be hot topics that can cause conflict and distract us from our main priority, which is to glorify God. These distractions take the focus off of Jesus Christ. A unified body so beautifully represents His power and His love. Please do not let conflict subtract from it!