Ephesians 4. Knowing our preponderance toward sinning, Paul encourages us to walk worthy and keep the "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV
As I pondered the verses shown above from Ephesians 4, I was thinking, "Now that is certainly a tall order!" Knowing our preponderance toward sinning, Paul encourages us to keep the "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." One only has to look at the state of the church of God through the ages to see how difficult this really is. Church history is filled with contention and church splits--some over very important differences and some over some very trivial differences.
As Christians, we are certainly not perfect people, are we? Because we still have our sin natures on this side of heaven, we will always wrestle with sin. Our three main enemies remain to be the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
How does Paul suggest we keep the unity of the Spirit? Paul calls us to walk worthy of the calling--in other words because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts, we are to seek to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) More specifically, in Ephesians 4, Paul encourages us to walk in lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. There is that tall order!
Our very natures cry out against such a thing. How are we to walk in lowliness and gentleness? Until becoming a believer, our world literally revolved around ourselves. The world encouraged us to "take care of number 1." Yet, that is not what we are encouraged to do in the Word of God. If we consider that everything we are is a result of the grace of God, we begin to understand how to solve this problem. We walk in lowliness and gentleness because we are nothing apart from Christ.
And, speaking of Christ, what an example He gave to us. He came as a lowly babe, whose parents did not even have a room at the inn for His birth. He lived and died as a common person, and yet He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Following His perfect example, let us pray that God would grant to us the grace to walk in true lowliness, gentleness, and humility.
Paul then encourages us to bear with one another in love. How difficult is that? Very! We are easily offended by the actions of others and are often very impatient with the sin we see in the lives of fellow believers. How quickly we can become puffed up with pride when we see others caught in sins we would never dream of! How little we know our true hearts if that is the way we think.
Paul spoke of the struggle with sin he faced in Romans 7:15, "For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." This is the normal Christian life. One of the greatest joys in heaven will be the reality of being released from sin. No longer will we struggle to be obedient to God's Holy Word!
So, then, when we consider our true natures and the sins with which we wrestle, let us pray for the grace of God that we would truly bear with one another in love.
Oh, that believers today would take these verses to heart. What a difference might that make in God's kingdom?
Go, then, today in the strength and power of Christ and pray that God would do a mighty work in your heart and life. Pray that, above all, Christ would be glorified in you.
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