By Sarah Jakes Roberts, Irini Fambro, Faith Eury Cho, Kaitlyn Schiess, Laura Fabrycky, and Aubrey Sampson
There are moments in history that shape and define us and, therefore, the world around us. This season is one of those pivotal moments. With all the current chaos fracturing and dividing our society, we must be committed to keeping our feet firmly planted in God’s Word and his truth.
Six different friends of Propel Women have shared biblical hope, healing, and wholeness with us through Ephesians 4:1-6.
by Sarah Jakes Roberts
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Imagine that after six months in the leggings and sweaters that hide all of the things that jiggle – you’ve been invited to have dinner with a queen. It’s time for you to put some razzle on that dazzle and clean up, because right now you look like what you’ve been through. To be fair…How could you not look a bit on the raggedy side? The world is going crazy. As if that’s not enough there is so much happening outside of the headlines in our homes, hearts, jobs, health, and emotions.
To walk worthy of the calling on our life is not always the easiest choice. Who feels like getting dressed up when so much is daring to strip us down? I can’t blame you. This has been a very tough year with moments of pain that we haven’t always been able to share. Yet, we are challenged to walk worthy of the invitation we’ve received, not according to the exhausting realities of shame, grief, headlines, insecurity, or defeat.
I’m sorry that things haven’t been as easy as we hoped. I’m sorry that the highs are remote and rare, while the lows are close and constant. But God chose you to be in this world at this time. Your circumstance has been permitted because God trusts your feet can walk worthy. God trusts your feet will move, even in the face of adversity. God trusts that you won’t sit and be still when there is a kingdom to build. You are a woman who has been invited to meet with a queen. The queen is not far away in a castle, but rather near you, in your own soul. Don’t let your circumstances steal your royal calling and power to walk in the spirit of God. It’s time for you to start moving again. You may have to crawl before you can walk, but each day you inch closer to walking worthy of your call, you’re one step closer to receiving your crown. Walk on, queen. We need you.
by Irini Fambro
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
There is one variable that continues to affect everything about my relationship with God. Humans. Yes, I said it, humans. The humans that cut me off on the road, the humans that wake up in my house, and let’s not forget my favorite human, myself. I am surrounded daily by my own humanity and of those around me. So why am I surprised when people miss it? In Ephesians 4:2 Paul writes as if he already knew about humanity and spoke into these moments, “Always be humble and gentle.”
In these God-timed moments Paul is challenging us to carve out an environment for the people around us as they work out their faith in the face of their humanity. Humility starts with the awareness of where you have been and what you have walked through. When we have a deep understanding of our own journey, we are empowered to see other people on their journey differently. If you have been hard on yourself or ignored the journey, then you will more than likely treat others on their journey in the same light. But, if you remember what it was like to be at the beginning of seeing your mistakes (or perhaps even before you realized you were making a mistake) you awaken to a divine moment, an opportunity. That moment, that pause, that choice to connect your journey to someone else is the shift in your perspective that allows you to see that person in humility. When we humbly engage with others in light of our own journey, we tend to enter in gently.
Paul knew that in relationships, we start with what we can control, ourselves. If I have been humble and gentle with myself, I am empowered to be patient with others in the middle of their mess and make allowance for people’s faults. Whhhhhaaaat? Who does that? Love does that. God’s love for us did not begin when we accepted Him as Lord of our lives or when we attempted to change our choices. God has always loved us. It is from that posture that I can give room for people to be messy.
by Faith Eury Cho
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
The Church is the family of Christ, and, like all families, there are disputes. However, it is easy to feel hopeless over the divisions within the Church these days. Is unity possible? Or, by now, is it just an ideal we preach but will never see fulfilled in real life?
I have a home with four children, all starkly different in personalities and preferences. Needless to say, it can be chaotic, and, once in a while, the fights can get rowdy. However, whenever a disagreement arises, there is always a go-to response they all have—go to Mommy.
“Mommy, she’s messing up my room!”
“Mommy, he’s not sharing!”
“Mommy, it was mine first!”
Within minutes, there’s a thorough tattling from both sides, but it would always end with Mommy bringing peace into the situation. Perspectives are shared. Apologies are made. And, at the end of the day, we are still deeply connected together as a family.
Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Perhaps it is time for the family of believers to have our own go-to response as well—go to the Spirit.
Unity is increased when we go to God in the face of discord amongst ourselves. When our loyalty to Him precedes our loyalty to anything else, a common ground appears amongst us. Sometimes, we are afraid of being at peace with those we disagree with, in fear that it would compromise what we believe. Yet, perhaps, it is not so scary when we realize that it is actually less about yielding to the “other,” than it is about yielding to Christ.
Jesus, he is wrong.
Jesus, she is only thinking of herself.
Jesus, how can he even think such a way?
Something shifts when you acknowledge the Holy One amongst you. Voices lower. Hearts soften. Ears open. The Prince of Peace commands our trust, and, in turn, He offers us His peace. That peace is the miracle that every family, community, and church needs, especially today.
by Kaitlyn Schiess
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
At the end of exhausting election season, many of us may find ourselves experiencing a strange sense of relief. “It’s finished!”
The political voices around us have threatened to drown out the still and quiet voice of God. Long simmering divisions have reared their ugly heads, even in our churches.
Today is as good a day as any for the church to remember who she is: the community of God, created and sustained by the Holy Spirit, and sojourning in the world as an outpost of the kingdom of God.
Paul uses seven “ones” in Ephesians 4 to shout with a megaphone to God’s people: you are one! We are not one because of our own power or desire, but because of Christ’s sacrifice. We have been united into one body, empowered by one Holy Spirit, and bought with a price from many nations to create the one new people of God.
And then, most significant on any day when we might be tempted to place our hope in political leaders, we share one “glorious hope for the future.” This is not a vague aspiration that things will get better, but a firm conviction that our God is faithful to His promises. We share the glorious hope that God will redeem his creation, resurrect our bodies, and restore his people to Himself. That is the kind of hope that will rock the political world, because it is a hope that does not bend a knee to anyone but our Lord. Our hope is not swayed by threats to our lives or livelihood. Our hope is not dependent on any party or candidate.
One of the greatest gifts that Christians can give the weary world is living like we really believe in resurrection. Resurrection means that no defeat, disappointment, or destruction has the final say. Resurrection means that God’s people have the freedom to live faithful lives in the world without fear. Resurrection means that the real cry of “It is finished!” is the one Jesus cries on the cross and the proclamation he promises to make in eternity: “I am making all things new.”
by Laura Fabrycky
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
When scanning the news headlines, it’s easy to feel resigned to a certain vision of reality. This fallen world seems like that’s just the way things are, so we sit back and sigh.
Christians feel the seismic shifts of the world as much as everyone else. We know that fallen, fractious realities aren’t just “out there” but “in here”—even in us. Schisms, wars, and rancorous divisions make up the tangled threads of history’s immense tapestry. They also reflect deep and deeply personal conflicts among real people in real places and times.
The early church knew those tensions too. All the familiar divisions of Roman society—organized by unequal power dynamics, maintained by habits, culture and, at times, by violence—existed in the community called by Jesus. Some were insiders and some were outsiders, but their life together in Christ was to be organized in an entirely different way.
Instead, they were called together by one Lord into one faith through one baptism. From his Roman jail cell, the apostle Paul reminded the church in Ephesus of reality itself: One Lord called them into this life by faith, expressed through baptism. They weren’t free to be resigned to disunity or hostile divisions. They were to make efforts to live peacefully in the Spirit as the community of Christ in the world.
Since this diverse group now found its identity and sense of belonging in Jesus Christ, they also belonged to one another in him. That kind of belonging was neither optional nor easy. It required practicing new habits of relating, marked by repentance, hospitality, humility, gentleness, and patience. That they belonged to God in Christ was as important as how they belonged to one another. Both truths, lived by faith, mattered to God’s great plan of reconciliation. They had to live it to believe it, and believe it to live it.
Practicing unity and cultivating common life in Christ was—and is—an expression of faith, an outworking of baptismal commitments. God is not resigned to the world with its divisions and hostilities. There is still one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and how we live life together reveals that reality to the world.
by Aubrey Sampson
one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
When I snuggled my baby sister in my arms for the first time, my life changed forever. Suddenly, I had a soul companion and partner in crime, a built-in best friend. As we grew, though, we realized that a sisterly bond would not occur naturally. We are as dissimilar as two sisters can possibly be.
She is tall; I’m short. She is blonde; I’m a brunette. She has blue eyes; Mine are green. She votes one way. I vote the other. She is sassy. I am sensitive. We are opposites in every sense of the word and we’ve sometimes joked that one of us was swapped at the hospital.
Nonetheless, we are committed to getting each other’s backs and honoring each other—not because we’re similar—but because we are blood. We are family.
When the apostle Paul writes these words to a church he loves passionately: “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:6),” he has something similar in mind.
Though we are all different—with unique abilities and gifts, diverse opinions, varied personality types, distinctive cultural contexts, singular passions, and disparate concerns—God created all of humanity, with its rich diversity, in his image—with a shared dignity and destiny. The Father was pleased to purchase all of us with the blood of Jesus, draw us near to himself, and call us his own.
Children of God, we may be total opposites, but we have one Father. None of God’s children was swapped at the hospital. And just as God, the Father, and the Spirit are one family, we are meant to reflect that oneness—that love—to the world.
There is a purpose and place for civil discourse and disagreement. But there is no place in God’s Kingdom for hostility amongst brothers and sisters in Christ.
May we all, in this unique moment in history, demolish barriers and dividing walls and build bridges in their place.
May we commit to honoring each other—not because we’re similar—but because, through the most precious blood of all, we have become blood ourselves.
We are family.