“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received…” (Ephesians 4:1)
We all face certain expectations in life. Our employer expects us to work hard at our job. Our teachers expect us to come to class and to finish our homework. Our parents require us to follow the family rules and live up to the basic standards of our home. Our friends expect us to be loyal and loving toward them. No matter where you turn, you are expected to maintain particular style of life in every part of our life.
In the first few verses of Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul describes some of the expectations God has for a Christian.
In verse 1, he says that God EXPECTS us to live a worthy life. Don’t ever fall for the line that says being a Christian requires nothing from you. That’s just not true. To live as a follower of Christ requires our most heroic efforts. Be careful however. Don’t forget — WE ARE NOT SAVED BY OUR EFFORTS — we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone through God’s grace alone. But once we are saved, we should strive for the mature faith that God desires for us.
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul outlines four parts of this life we are to strive for.
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love…”
HUMILITY — Humility is NOT marked by cowering or crying. Instead, Godly humility refers to a realization that we owe all our being to God alone. Humility is not a feeling of inferiority toward others, but a feeling of complete dependence on God.
GENTLENESS — This word refers to a condition in which people hold their passions and anger under the control of God. It doesn’t mean that we never get upset or angry. This gentleness refers rather to THE WAY a Christian confronts anger.
PATIENCE — This is a picture of a Christian who is able to endure every circumstance that threatens them with discouragement. A patient person will never give in to the temptation to take revenge or to toss in the towel when life gets tough.
The final thing Paul mentions in verse 2 is “accepting one another in love.” Only Christian love can do this. Paul understood that in order for us to maintain an attitude of true acceptance, we have to be willing to overlook the hurts and slights that we have in life.
The acceptance Paul is speaking of is far different than what we see in our culture today. Christian acceptance realizes that we are all sinners and that it is only by the grace of God ANY of us are saved. But it also recognizes that ALL sin is an abomination to God and that we ALL stand guilty before Him because the Bible says “there is none righteous — no not one.” True acceptance is an attitude of benevolence toward one another. When we accept one another in Christ, that includes confronting sin in the lives of others in an attempt to restore them to a proper relationship with God and with the body of Christ (the church).
When we begin to achieve these four traits, we will reap the benefit of harmony within the body of Christ and the glory of God will be proclaimed throughout the world. I pray these four traits of humility, gentleness, patience and Christian acceptance will be evident in my life as a believer. In that way, I will be a more effective witness for my Lord.
Have a great day.