Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6
What do you do when you start a new job? You conform to the standards of the new job. You do this because that is what is expected of you. You do this because you want to keep your job. You accept the standards of the organization and the mission of the organization as your own. When someone accepts Christ they are saying that they believe in God and they are going to live their life in a way that is pleasing to God. They are going to live their life in a manner that honors God. Many times though we do not see this same loyalty in the church. In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul discusses theology and what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Now Paul transitions into how to put this doctrine in place.
Paul is in prison and he mentions this so that he can remind the readers that living a life for Christ can be a costly one. He says that he is a prisoner of the Lord. Paul did not change his commitment to the Lord even though he was facing a hard time. Paul was facing prison time because he was proclaiming God’s name. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that even though you face hard times you are still to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. He is telling them that as Children of God they are to live a life that honors God no matter the circumstances.
Paul then lists five essentials for Christian living. These same five essentials still apply to followers of Christ today. It was a common practice to lists virtues in five. There is no evidence that any of these are more important than the others. They are all as equally important and should be treated this way.
The first characteristic is being humble. Being humble means that one judges with lowliness and therefor has a lowly mind. There was not a word for this among the Greeks and the concept was foreign to them. The term was likely coined by Paul to describe a quality that no other word describes. In the English language we create words for ideas and concepts that are important to us. This must have been a very important idea to Paul, if he were to create a word to describe it.
Gentleness is the next characteristic we as Christians should have. When we think of being gentle or meek we think of being weak. The meaning of gentleness in this context has nothing to do with being weak. It pertained to a wild animal that was tamed. A wild animal that was meek still had its power but it was under control. We need to view this as having power under the control of God. When we as Christians are gentle we will be quiet, soothing and mild mannered. The meek Christian will also have self-control.
Patience is the third characteristic of a Christian. A patient person is one that endures negative circumstances and never gives into them. When we view the life of Paul we see someone that is patient. He endured many negative circumstances but never lost sight of the mission that God has placed before him. How many times do we as Christians face negative circumstances in our lives and loose our temper because we do not like what has happened?
The Christian should show tolerance for one another in love. Peter teaches us that love covers a multitude of sins. This is not to justify the sins but to keep them from becoming known any more than necessary. Hatred stirs up strife and therefor love should help keep it private instead of blasting it to everyone. Forbearing love will be a love that is continuous and unconditional.
Unity is the last characteristic. We as Christians are to be diligent in preserving the unity of the spirit. This means that every believer should be united in the spirit and be bound to one another. This bond that brings unity is peace. This is only manifested through having every one of these qualities.
Paul then goes onto talk about unity. He states there is just one Spirit, one Lord, and one God. The Holy Spirit is the driving force to unify all the body of believers. There is only one Lord and the Lord is the one that provides faith that unifies each believer and provides the baptism into the body of the Holy Spirit. We also see unity in the God. God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- As Christians we must be: humble, gentle, patient, loving, and unified.
- Unity is what binds us together in peace.
- We are to have the characteristics no matter how bad our circumstances are.