“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 NLT)
The Apostle Paul has just prayed over those receiving his letter to experience inner strength through spiritual growth (Eph. 3). Notice Paul starts his text in Chapter 4 with “therefore”, which indicates a consequence. Paul is saying because of your spiritual growth, consequently you should be able to display the characteristics of Jesus as outlined in Ephesians 4:2 be humble, gentle, patient and gracious toward one another.
This is a radical introduction to those reading this letter. Paul is saying there should be no segregation amongst believers (Jews and Gentiles). Faith in Christ should be the sole basis of our identity amongst believers. Why? “Because of our love in Christ. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Paul is calling all believers to make every effort to unite in the Spirit through peace. If we are called to make every effort – we must strive toward it. We must actively choose it. How can we choose to remain united in such a divided world? Choosing to focus on our common ground instead of our differences is one way we can strive toward peace. Peace ultimately brings unity. We don’t have to agree in all things, but we can remain humble, gentle, patient and gracious toward one another if we choose unity through the fruit of peace.
Who can you be more gracious toward, gentler and more patient with? In this time of forced “homeschooling” I’m sure most parents can identify with the need to extend more patience toward their kiddos and choose gentleness in instructing them. Fight to hold your peace as you make your way to the ransacked grocery stores. Peace is not worth surrendering over an item at the marketplace.
Recommended Reading: Ephesians 3
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for gifting us with the ability to choose. Continue to strengthen me that I may continually choose peace in times of chaos. Fill me to overflow in grace that I make continually make allowances for those who fall short around me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!