If this is who we are, then this is how we live

Paul has spent the first three chapters of Ephesians reminding us of the wonderful and lavish grace that we have had bestowed upon us. We have been reminded that this freedom and liberation from sin and death is available for all believers and now we start to see what responsibility we now have in the way we move forward and conduct ourselves.

Let’s take a look at Paul’s words at the start of Chapter 4.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

To begin, Paul is clear that he wants us to live our lives through the lens of what we have been given through our salvation – coming to faith in Jesus is not an end stop whereby we can now put our feet up with an ‘I’m all right’ attitude to what happens next. No, we have been given much and we now have a responsibility to continue on a course that is ‘worthy’ of what we have been given.

Of course, this is not payback. We are not now duty-bound to find a way to repay this grace and our salvation, but we are expected to live a life that is characterised by certain attitudes and behaviours – later in Ephesians (5:8), Paul reminds us we are children of light. We know longer walk in darkness, and so our actions should reflect this.

So what are we to do? How are we to proceed?

Paul begins with those attitudes that affect how we treat and view others.

  1. Humility – how important do we see ourselves? In remembering we are precious and valuable to God, we need to also remember that we have not been saved because of how great we are but because of how great He is.
  2. Gentleness – there’s not a lot of gentleness in the world is there? We are encouraged more to be bold and brash than we are to be gentle. Being gentle is often considered to be weak or dependent, when in fact having a gentle heart or approach is more likely to win people over and around.
  3. Patience – do you remember that thing you struggle with? And now you don’t? Well, someone else somewhere is struggling with that still. Does that make them any less saved than you? No. You know that thing you are still struggling with? Well, there are people elsewhere who have never struggled with that. We are all different. We have different strengths and different weaknesses. Being patient with each other is so vital because what you find hard, someone else might not. What you find easy is someone else’s greatest downfall. Being patient with each other is just vital, remembering that God is seeing that good work through in each of us, just as we are promised in Philippians 1:6.
  4. Love – we can be patient with each other, but it’s got to be done with love. When we view the weaknesses of others, we can tolerate them, sure, but we must allow our own attitudes and behaviours to be characterised with love.
  5. Unity – Paul goes to the effort to repeat the word ‘one’ in the following verses, emphasising the importance of unity. We can differ on matters, and we can have ideas that are not always the same. However, even in our disagreements we must remain unified, disagreeing respectfully and remaining mindful of the fact that we all worship and save the same – and one and only – God.

 

Thoughts for Today

 

  1. Looking at these verses, how can you see them echo the fruit of the Spirit? What do we need to rely on, then, in order to be able to demonstrate these characteristics?
  2. What areas do you struggle with the most and why? What help do you need from God to live in these characteristics with more frequency or commitment?
  3. How can we make sure we grow in these areas? What will help us ensure we keep focussed on the kind of life we are to live to ensure it is “worthy of the calling we have received”?

 

Prayers for Today

 

  • How can we pray today for our own natures? How can we asked God to show us areas we need to grow in grace?
  • Let’s pray today that our lives would be consistently and evidently full of these characteristics.

Grace and Love

Helen x

 

 

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