“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
Paul saw himself and his circumstances from a divine perspective. He was not a prisoner of Rome, but rather a prisoner for the Lord. His work had not been halted, but merely relocated. Even though proclaiming the Gospel landed him in jail to begin with, Paul never lost his faith or his fervor. Instead, he continued his ministry from behind bars. Since he could not get to the church in Ephesus, he wrote them a letter to encourage and nurture them in their faith.
The previous portion of his letter contains a beautiful prayer for their spiritual strength, which ends with a reminder that God can do abundantly more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Paul assured them of God’s infinite love for them and his boundless power to work on their behalf. In today’s reading, Paul called the Ephesians to live into that love and power “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2).
Paul chose to view his life from God’s divine perspective, and he taught his readers to do the same. In all circumstances, they were to live into the Lord’s love, grace, goodness, sovereignty, and steadfast patience. Receiving these gifts, they were called to humility toward the Lord and one another. Of course, living in relationship with a perfect God was, and is, much easier than living in relationship with God’s imperfect children. Despite the gifts of salvation and sanctification, every person is a work in progress. Christians annoy one another, disappoint one another, sin against each other, and fail each other. Yet, Paul called them to persevere in relationship and to demonstrate the gentleness, patience, and love that God had shown them. This was not, and is not, an easy charge, especially in a world that harbors division and seems to embrace hostility.
I can’t help but wonder what Paul would like to say to us today. Certainly, his words ring as true now as they did back then. However, even in the church, it seems we are more inclined to anger, judgement, and dismissal than humility, gentleness, and love. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling; I believe he would exhort us to do the same today. We are all called to live “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2).
May the Spirit pierce your heart and mine with these powerful words today!
Reflect and Respond:
How is the Lord convicting you today and how will you respond? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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