Ephesians 4:1-2 Living with the end in mind
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.
In view of the calling that God has placed over the church as well as the authority that God has invested in her, Paul urges the church to live in a manner that fulfills her calling. Here, Paul surfaces three important virtues of humility, gentleness and patience through which the church could establish unity and trust within her members. Unity and mutual trust is the first foundation leading to prosperous living. The church, having the end goal in mind, should endeavor to live towards unity and trust at all times.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
Paul, within the confines of prison calls for all Gentile believers to live in a manner that is coherent with their calling. This calls for serious attention on the part of Gentiles in that their conversion is the very reason for his suffering. As we have seen in previous passages, the Gentile call is to evangelize the world and to establish God’s Kingdom where they are. In view of that calling, Gentile believers need to change the manner they live according to the Kingdom lifestyle and to be united as a church.
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
In what manner should Gentile believers live? Paul raises three qualities that are critical for maintaining unity and trust in the church. The first quality: humility is the virtue that puts the interests of others before self. Both Paul and Jesus are exemplary in their lifestyle of humility. In fact, humility is the chief quality that brings power and glory. Paul says concerning the humility of Jesus,
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:3-9
The second quality: gentleness is the virtue of not being overly impressed by one’s importance. Apostle Peter says that believers should dress according to the inner person, the heart of imperishable beauty; a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to God. Hence, a gentle person does not draw attention to himself, but rather creates opportunities for others to shine. A person of gentleness is also a team player that pulls people together towards a united vision.
The third quality: patience is the virtue of being able to bear up under provocation. The opposite of patience is fleshly anger. While godly anger is stirred up when God’s laws are broken with contempt. Fleshly anger concerns mainly with personal interests and self-preservation. A believer grows in patience when he puts his trust in God for all his endeavors and learns to place the well being of people above tasks.
The God kind of love drives the virtues of humility, patience and gentleness. When believers yield themselves continually to God’s truth and love, self-centered living, anger and pride will give way to humility, patience and gentleness.
1. People are greatly inspired by one who ministers from his point of need. Therefore, when we are at a point of need, we should depend on God for strength so that we could inspire others; we should seize the opportunity to be strong and to inspire. Paul despite of his own troubles, reaches out to the church and encourage them to press on. Paul wrote from prison, “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:14). Paul makes use of his position of weakness to inspire strength and boldness in others. A person who is in financial difficulty can encourage others by their positive demeanor, not given to complain and angst and by their quiet trust in God.
2. Unity and mutual trust within the community or organization is the bedrock and first foundation leading to a prosperous community. In the formational years of Singapore, its government wastes no time by first establishing a culture of harmony and tolerance amongst a multi-racial and religious society. Singapore’s achievements since its independence in 1965 owes itself in no uncertain terms to a harmonious society. It is obvious the problems in the Middle East and the African nations are due to the inability of various tribes and factions to resolve the decades of feuds. Despite possessing abundance of natural resources of oil, minerals and gas, majority of their population live below poverty line. Therefore, in order for the church to prosper and to fulfill her calling, she must maintain unity and peace amongst her members at all cost: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.
1. Understand what your current struggles are. Ask God to strengthen you with peace and hope so that you could encourage those who are also struggling.
2. Understand what are the issues that usually cause you to lose patience. Ask God to help you bring to the surface the roots of impatience. There could be some hidden pride or unresolved hurts within you. Try to understand from God’s perspective how you could handle the situation in the future.
Dear Lord, I thank You that You are always in control of the circumstances of my life. I know that through Your Spirit, I could overcome my worries and anxieties to become an encouragement to others. Give me wisdom and patience so that I could remain calm when I am provoked. Feel me with love so that I could be a uniting factor in my community. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.