“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.”
Unity and harmony is of utmost importance among believers of Jesus. In many of Paul’s letters in the New Testament, he gives significant emphasis to this calling. This verse is a perfect example. In this particular instance though, he mentions a couple of things in particular that are important to note.
Before he calls us to harmony and unity, he calls our attention to two attributes of God -endurance and encouragement. The truth is that unity isn’t easy. Unity requires both endurance and encouragement. To live in harmony – ironically enough – often isn’t something that is easy to come by. Like most of the things that Jesus calls us to, it’s completely counter to our human nature. For this reason, Paul doesn’t command harmony of our own obedience and discipline. Rather, he prays for us that God would grant us the gift of endurance and encouragement so as to bring about harmony.
Another important note is the way that Paul ends the verse. He says that all of this should be done in accord with Christ Jesus. Our unity among other believers is something that is directly in line with not only the will of Jesus, but also the example that he set in his own life. Christ lived in harmony with all, even those that arrested and killed him. He never fought against them, he never protested, he went willingly to his death.
While our calling to unity and peace is not something that will likely lead to that kind of situation, Christ exemplified to the highest level the harmony we must live by.
As you pursue harmony and peace, pray that God will grant you the endurance and encouragement that will allow you to live in unity with all. Follow the example of Jesus, living in harmony with all. In doing so, we will glorify the name of God and exemplify his perfect peace to the world.
I pray that you would grant us all the endurance and encouragement to let us live in harmony with others. Help us to live by the example of Jesus as we show the world what your perfect peace and harmony looks like.
In Jesus’ Name,