Wednesday, July 01 2020
Recently I officiated at the funeral of a man from our congregation. His wife asked me to read the following passage from Ephesians 4. Paul writes,
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. - Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT)
I am impressed by a man whose wife asks for this passage to be read in regard to his life. I want to be a person for whom these words apply! Wouldn’t you want these words used to describe you?
Paul writes from prison. But even there, he is concerned about living a life that is worth what God has done for us in Jesus. In Jesus, God demonstrates our worth to Him – the blood of His own Son. A worthwhile life reflects the high value God has placed on us.
Paul teaches us that the worthwhile life consists of humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerant love that seeks unity and peace in response to who God is and what God has done for us in Jesus.
- Humility describes a person who has an accurate view of themselves and others. Gospel humility is not a low view of self but a high view of others – as created in the image of God, bought by the blood of Christ, and potential Temples of the Holy Spirit.
- Gentleness can be defined as “power under control.” Greek writers spoke of it as soothing wind, healing medicine, or the breaking of a colt. The New Testament paints it as a graciousness exhibited by inner strength. It is the opposite of haughtiness and harshness. One could call it “love in little things” [William Barclay] or “not needing to force our way in life.” [The Message]
- Patience or longsuffering combines the word for large and desire. Patience requires that we value our relationship with people over our own rights. The Message translates it as “…a willingness to stick with things and people.” Far from passive, it is the powerful capacity of selfless love that keeps moving toward a better goal.
- Tolerant love refers to an attitude of endurance in willing the good of another even at great cost to one’s self. The New Living Translation puts defines it as “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Such a life builds relationships rather than tears them down, creates peace rather than chaos, and unites us instead of dividing us. Paul quotes a “creed” of sorts showing the importance of good theology. Right theology should lead to right behavior; true worship to true relationships; loving God to loving others. Such a life is built on the solid foundation of who God is as He is revealed in Jesus.
This is the life God calls us to live and works to form in us. We are in a time where we have more than ample opportunities to practice these things. Imagine what it would look like if I responded to the latest conflict in my home or controversy in my community with humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerant love. This is not something I can do by myself. It is not something God will do without me. May we respond to His invitation to learn how well-loved we are by Him so that we may learn to love Him and others well.
Don’t forget to join us this Sunday at our 9am outdoor service or 10:30am indoor/livestream service. For more info, click here.