“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
There is confidence that comes when we know we are called to something. A baseball player who has practiced faithfully is confident when he steps to the plate. A child is not as nervous on stage when she has practiced her lines so much that they flow naturally off her tongue.
A calling brings confidence.
Paul set up the last three chapters explaining the assurance of who God is. His deep love and His real grace are nearly jumping off the pages. Now that the believers have been reminded of Who God is and His love for them, Paul begins to describe how their lives should look.
God's love brings confidence.
We’ve seen Paul refer to himself in many ways in this book alone. In chapter one he said he is “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (verse 1) Then in chapter three he said he is “a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles – " (verse 3). He gave thanks for them and prayed for them. Paul knelt before the Father on their behalf (Ephesians 3:14). Now he again describes himself as a prisoner as he urges his readers to walk in a manner worthy of the calling.
God's love and call bring action.
Paul made it clear already that he knows he is called by God as an apostle, specifically to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles (anyone who is not an Israelite). It was for the Lord that He did this. It is for the Lord that he is in prison.
Obedience to the Lord is worth the cost.
No longer is Paul able to freely travel publicly proclaiming God’s Word; yet, he knows without a doubt that he is a prisoner for the Lord. He wants the believers at Ephesus, and us as well, to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (from Ephesians 4:1). Yes, they are called by God as well. They are called to live for Him. What does that look like? The next two verses make it clear that a believer is marked by:
* all humility and gentleness
* patience, bearing with one another in love
* eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace
“Christian conduct follows from Christian doctrine, that the duty of Christians derives directly from the unspeakable debt of gratitude that they owe for all that they have received in Christ.” (Foulkes, 1989)
Sometimes we look at humility and imagine it a bad thing. If we read scripture as people who have trusted Christ as Savior, we see how very lowly we are and how mighty God is. “In Christ lowliness became a virtue. His life and death were service and sacrifice without thought of reputation (Phil. 2:6-7). Because the Christian is called to follow in his steps, humility has an irreplaceable part in the Christian character (cf. Acts 20:19), and also for the reason that he has been brought to see the greatness and glory and holiness of God, so that he cannot but be overwhelmed by the realization of his own weakness and sinfulness.” (Foulkes, 1989)
When we view our own sin and God’s holiness and love rightly, we will be humble. We are called to share this message of hope with others, these virtues enable us to do so in a Christ-like way. His love brings action. Obedience to His call is always worth the cost.
"but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:7-8 ESV)
Thank you for teaching me that I am nothing without you. I have received Your grace. Thank You. Please cause my heart to believe that I am called by You. Cause my life to point to you. To You be all glory. In Your Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
Do you see humility, gentleness, patience, and eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace in your own life?
Which is the hardest for you? Why?
What will you do to improve in this area, knowing that you are relying on Christ to see it through?
Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 10, p. 115). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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