Friday, 20 May 2022
‘Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…’ -Ephesians 4:1
As believers, do we think about how we are representing and honouring God? In a world that’s watching the Christian’s daily walk and life of unity, Apostle Paul’s imploration to ‘walk in a manner worthy of our calling’ is of great relevance.
While the first three chapters of Ephesians focus on the doctrine of our calling to salvation in God- established through God the Father’s eternal plan, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection that unites all believers - both Jews and Gentiles- and the seal and guarantee of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live according to God’s will, in Chapter Four Paul shifts to the practical application.
‘Therefore’ - understanding the riches of God’s grace, we are to conduct ourselves befitting our heavenly calling. While it is our responsibility to live a life honouring and glorifying God, it should come from a heart of gratitude and love. In addressing himself as ‘the prisoner of the Lord’, for the sake of the gospel, Paul portrays an example of living a life worthy of the eternal call.
So, what does the worthy walk look like? In Vs 2, Paul mentions 5 characteristics:
Humility: It refers to ‘lowliness of mind’. Knowing that the blessing of salvation and being in God’s family is the grace of God towards us, and not by own merit, brings an attitude of humility. It enables us to put the needs of others before our own desires. Philippians 2:3 says, ‘with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves’ It is the very attitude of Christ mentioned in Philippians 2:5-8:‘…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.’
Gentleness: Gentleness and humility go together. A mind of humility brings forth the outwardly expression of gentleness towards others. A gentle demeanour is reflected in acts of kindness, words of encouragement, building others up and being considerate of others’ feelings. Jesus demonstrates it in John 8:3-11 when He forgives the woman caught in adultery. It is the same gentleness He showed us, who were once sinners, by forgiving and loving us and so expects us to extend to others.
Patience: Patience is an attribute of God. 2 Peter 3:9 says, ‘The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’ When our Holy God who abhors sin has been so patient with each of us, leading us to repentance, how can we not demonstrate patience towards our brothers and sisters?
Tolerance: It is to bear with others, respecting their opinions and preferences though it may differ from ours. As the body of Christ, we come together from different nations, tribes with different experiences and cultures and we are bound to have differences. The character of tolerance calls for making allowances and being accommodative without being judgmental. Paul expresses this in Romans 14:1-4— ‘Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. …’
Love: This refers to ‘agape’ - an unconditional love to others, not expecting anything in return. It is the same love that God showed towards us in giving Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16). It is the same love which Jesus commands us to have towards each other in John 13:34-35: “ I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” Such love portrays to the world what true discipleship is.
What is our attitude towards our brethren? Do we demonstrate humility, patience and love towards others? If not, let us mend our ways that we may live in unity with our brethren, accepting one another in love and glorifying God who has called us.
To Act on: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)