I think that this passage is really relevant for us today. Lately it seems like everyone in the world is against each other, tearing others down without a care - but in this passage Paul instructs us to live in unity. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Sometimes people can think that unity means everyone acts, believes, and lives in the exact same way. People actually believe that unity can't exist until this happens. I don't think that's what Paul meant here by unity. God created every single person to be a unique and different part of the body. There is nobody exactly like you in the world. You were made specifically the way you are for a purpose. Though we were all created differently, we were also all created to work together as one. This is true unity.
It's easy to read that first verse where it says, "May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus" and think that you just have to get along with everyone and please people and it be just perfect all the time. I don't think that is what this is saying at all. I think this verse means that we fight for others to know Jesus. It means we call out good things in each other. It means we have healthy conflict and call each other higher. I think true harmony is work. Jesus says we cannot do any of it without Him.
Invite him into your community. Seek Him alongside each other. Love the people around you well by praying for your neighbor. Love well by asking your friends how they are and really meaning it. I think often times we think unity should be easy and it's not. But it's worth it.
My prayer for you is that you fight for unity and community wherever you go. My prayer is that you put yourself out so you can give God a chance to bring community to you. My prayer is that you invite God into the community you already have so that he can move.
- Laura Lewis