Monday, February 27, 2012

Ephesians 4:1-3

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“Therefore” refers directly back to the first three chapters. Because God has provided us unmerited salvation and drawn both Jew and Gentile together into a united dwelling place for God, we should live like the people we have become. Remember that Paul sees himself not as the prisoner of Rome, but as the prisoner of the Lord. He gave up his freedom to “do his own thing” when he made the choice to follow Christ. From that point on he strove to walk in a manner worthy of his calling. The he describes the characteristics found in such a walk:

Humility: Humility is a tricky thing. Just when you think you’ve got it, you’ve lost it. But humility is not a self-debasing act - you are a child of God endowed with inherent value. Rather it is realizing that you have no more worth than any other person on the planet. It means you are not the authority in your own life but rather submit your will to the will of the Father. Humility leads us away from materialism and loneliness towards submissively meeting the needs of others. If we all lived in humility and love no one would have unmet physical or emotional needs.

Gentleness: Gentleness is not weakness, it is power controlled. Jesus constantly exhibited this trait. At the snap of a finger he could have annihilated his enemies, but he confronted them with truth instead. Followers of God should never manipulate circumstances toward an outcome. God’s will unfolds as we follow him and speak his truth in gentleness to those around us.

Patience: (Yikes – this is a trait that God has been working on in me for years.) Patience is waiting on God’s timetable rather than trying to run the show ourselves. It is replacing our carnal tempers with spirits that not only “roll with the punches” but calmly teach God’s truth to those around us, no matter how often we must repeat ourselves. I long to model my motherhood after the way Jesus taught his disciples. He never lost his cool with his followers. He taught his disciples over and over again, overlooking the fact that they didn’t catch on and often got the wrong impression.

Showing tolerance (forbearance): This trait goes hand in hand with patience. If you are patient you are able to show self-control, rather than the inclination to smack someone you deem idiotic, scream at your spouse or children, or mouth off to a parent or superior. In the spirit of agape love we commit ourselves to benefit others rather than ourselves.

“Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another” (JBPNT). Unity inherently exists in Christ as we live in the spirit. Unity is shattered when we seek our own gain and accolades. Unity exists when as his disciples we show love one to another. This video says it better than I can:  

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