Opportunity is a Port of Unity

opportunity tagsIt’s a verse that I think is intriguing, but not because it is full of mystery; not because it is difficult to understand; but, because it is so rich in meaning: “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).”

I saw something for the first time the last time I read this verse. It is the word “opportunity.” If you section the word, you can see it: OP-Port-Unity—Our Peace: Port of Unity

This is the opportunity that Paul spoke of when he wrote to the Ephesians and said: “Jesus is Our Peace (OP).” He was discussing the law and grace with Jews and Gentiles, and he said the peace of Jesus is the Port of Unity:

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace (Ephesians 2:13-15).”

Two chapters later, Paul emphasizes the importance of the peace we have in Jesus:

“I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us (Ephesians 2:2-4).”

Look at the Op-Port-Unity principles in Colossians 3:12-17:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

Instead of looking for what is wrong, use this week as a time of opportunity to focus on Jesus as Our Peace (OP) and to become a Port of Unity.

Developing the Habit

consistency_quoteEven though he did not use the exact words each time, there are at least four distinct places where Paul calls you to a life of disciplined prayer:
• Pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17)
• Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12)
• With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity (Ephesians 6:18)
• Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.

When you read the verses above are you overwhelmed? Do you wonder, “How can I pray without ceasing?” Does God actually expect me to do what Paul instructs these believers to do—pray constantly and consistently?

The answer is to this is yes and no. Practically speaking, it is impossible to be on your knees and in prayer every moment and second of life, but that isn’t what Paul calls you to do. I think Paul’s idea of prayer is to have an attitude of prayer.

You begin to maintain the habit of prayer when you “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2).” How will you know when you are doing this?

A habit of prayer is being developed when you:
• Begin to live with a God-consciousness—everything you see and experience becomes a kind of prayer
• Are tempted, you immediately go to God and ask for His help
• See the good in someone or experience the beauty of nature, you thank the Lord for it.
• Meet someone, you have a concern for their spiritual well-being

Paul may had an extraordinary prayer life, but remember that he was still just an ordinary person; and, what Paul did, you can do as well. I encourage you to fine-tune your attitude of prayer by giving careful consideration to these words of Paul:

“Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a chance to make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not to cut them out. (Colossians 4 ~The Message).”

To get started, read the Scripture above with each meal you eat, and before you go to bed. Do it more than just today—practice it each day for the rest of this week.