Isaiah 45:11-46:13; Ephesians 4:1-8; Psalms 68:32-35; Proverbs 17:16
NT: “Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making 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 at your calling — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6 CSB)
In the simple “Sit, Walk, Stand” outline of Ephesians, the first three chapters contain the “sit” portion. The first three chapters of Ephesians are all about who we are in Christ and the riches that are available to us in Christ. The forth chapter of Ephesians begins the “walk” portion of the letter, where Paul admonished the family of faith to practically walk in the reality of what was revealed in the first three chapters.
Paul began chapter 4 with the word therefore. The “therefore” was there to indicate that everything that Paul was going to encourage the believers to actually do was based on the doctrines he had just established: That we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, that in Christ both Jew and Gentile alike are chosen by God and called to belong to Christ’s body, that Jews and Gentiles become members of the family of God and joint-heirs to Christ’s inheritance – not by works, but through faith in Christ, that as God’s church – His called-out people – we have the honor and privilege of being the revelation and expression of God’s glory on the earth. Based on that reality, Paul said, “I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.”
How do we walk worthy of that great and gracious calling? Paul gave some keys. We need to walk in humility (having an honest and modest sense of self). Humility is not thinking too highly of yourself, but it is also not thinking too lowly of yourself. Humility involves both knowing your strengths and weaknesses, along with acknowledging what the Lord can do through You despite your strengths and weaknesses. We need to walk in gentleness (meekness). Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control. We need to walk in patience (endurance, perseverance and longsuffering). This involves the ability to endure discomfort, challenges and wrongs without fighting back or avenging yourself. We need to bear with one another in love. This involves lovingly embracing and bearing the weight of each-other’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Finally, we need to make every effort (exert effort, diligently endeavor) to keep (guard, attend to, preserve) the unity of the Spirit through the peace that we all have with God and with each other through faith in Christ.
The unity of the Spirit is not uniformity. God’s grace and wisdom is multi-faceted and is expressed uniquely through each and every one of us. We are many parts of one unified body. We don’t all look the same or do the same things – but we do all things as a body to accomplish the purposes of God. The unity of the Spirit is not unanimity. Not all members of the family of faith will agree on every insignificant detail – but it is important that we all agree on the foundational truths of our faith. Paul listed those core foundational believes here: One body (we are all members of the body of Christ), one Spirit (the same Holy Spirit of God dwells in each and every believer), one hope (we have all been made joint-heirs of the kingdom, and we will receive that inheritance when Christ comes again), one Lord (our Lord is Jesus Christ, the head of the body), one faith (our faith is in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God), one baptism (we have all died to sin, have been made alive in Christ and baptized by the Spirit into the family of God), one God and Father (as members of one family, we have one Father Who is the Lord God and Creator of all). We must all diligently put out effort by grace to maintain our unity based on those core truths of who we are in Christ. In doing so, we will walk worthy of the grand, glorious and gracious call that we have been given as the Church and bring glory to God on the earth.
Psalms: “Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; sing praise to the Lord, -Sela- to him who rides in the ancient, highest heavens. Look, he thunders with his powerful voice! Ascribe power to God. His majesty is over Israel; his power is among the clouds. God, you are awe-inspiring in your sanctuaries. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!” (Psalms 68:32-35 CSB)
David doesn’t just call Israel to sing praises to the Lord, he calls all the kingdoms of the earth to praise. Through Christ, all the kingdoms of the earth have access to God’s salvation by faith. As people from every nation, tribe and tongue come to faith in Christ, they are baptized into the family of God and become God’s people. To all who are in Christ, God lavishly pours out power and strength, that they may walk worthy of their calling and bring glory to Him. Only God could do that, and only God is worthy of all the praise from all the earth. Blessed be God!
Prayer: Lord, You have expressed Your love to me by saving me, calling me and blessing me with every spiritual blessing. My proper and reasonable response is to walk worthy of all that You have done for me and called me to by the grace that I receive from You by faith. Help me to do just that, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit with all my brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.