“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Paul (God through Paul) has just gone on for three chapters in Ephesians about this beautiful, staggeringly gracious plan that the Lord has had before the foundations of the earth: a plan to make hopeless people into His children. Paul has emphasized that before placing faith in Jesus, unbelievers are by nature children of wrath. However, as believers, we are united with Christ and get His righteousness instead of our guilt. Being individually united with Christ unites us as a whole. We, all believers, are tightly bound together in that we are all recipients of the same tremendous mercy.
We are to keep foremost in our thoughts that we are all called to one hope. God has gone to incredible lengths to make us one family through Christ Jesus. So now the command: walk in a manner worthy of your calling. We are called to live a life that honors what we have been called to: a new hope, a new life unified with Christ and with one another.
How do we walk this way?
- With all humility
- With gentleness
- With patience
- Bearing with one another in love (ESV)/showing tolerance for one another in love (NASB1995)/making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (NLT)
- The word used here can be translated as: to put up with, bear with, endure, tolerate, accept, etc.
I believe the why behind this is crucial. When we believers live this life together, we have to remember that we were all called from a hopeless place to a single hope. We are all alive through the same beautiful plan that God had laid out before the world was formed. This plan was merciful to us despite what we deserved. So when we are interacting with other believers, we should call to mind this truth and let it fuel humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerance for one another.
When I am tempted to have a short fuse, it humbles me to know that God loves me despite my own sin. When I am tempted to be harsh, it softens me to know that Christ suffered much to unite me and that other person with Himself. I know Christ is patient with my faults, so I want to treat my brothers and sisters in Christ with the same patience.
We are encouraged to be tolerant/accepting/enduring of others in this family God has brought us into. His vision for His family is unity, and I want to get on board with that.