As believers in Jesus, we are called to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling”. But how exactly do we do that? Steph Nickel looks at Paul’s teachings, and provides an insight on how we can walk worthy in a manner that is pleasing to God.
Nurturing Our Spiritual Fruits
Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “I [Paul] 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”
You may see the similarities between the list in this passage and the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Paul’s approach in Ephesians 4 is slightly different, but the list of godly traits is very similar.
While we can’t produce these traits, this fruit, in our own lives, there are things we can do to nurture them. Just as a farmer doesn’t create the seed nor can he make it grow, he does have an important role to play.
Walk Worthy Of The Calling
If there was nothing we could do, Paul wouldn’t have given us the directive to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
We may wonder what it means to be called. He’s not simply talking about spiritual leaders here. In Ephesians 1:1, Paul addresses this letter to “the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.”
Because God chose to include the book of Ephesians in the Scriptures, we can conclude that it speaks to all believers in Jesus Christ. Plus, as we read further in Ephesians 4, it is clear to see that the apostle is speaking to all who come to saving faith, to all who make up the body of Christ.
If you are a believer in Jesus, you, too, are called. Together, we must seek to walk in a manner worthy of that calling. So just what can we do?
I don’t believe humility means moping around with “a woe is me, I can’t do anything good” attitude. After all, God has given us talents, abilities, and resources to accomplish His plans and purposes. I believe it’s remembering where these things came from and seeking to give Him honour and glory that marks a humble life.
The Scriptures refer to gentleness in numerous passages, but I think we often get the wrong idea of what it means. Jesus was gentle. Paul was gentle. But that doesn’t mean they never spoke words of correction and admonition. It isn’t easy, but we can speak the truth in love as it says further in the chapter, in Ephesians 4:15. We can be kind, loving, and gentle while still saying what needs to be said.
I have often referred to the Old English interpretation of this word. I think there would be great benefit from going back to referring to patience as long-suffering. We think of patience as not allowing road rage to take control when we have to wait at a stoplight or not getting irritated when our spouse or our child is running behind schedule and will make us late. This requires a form of patience, but it can’t be defined as long-suffering.
Bear With One Another In Love
And speaking of being patient with our family members, we often find they have traits that irritate and annoy us. The truth is we all have traits that rub someone the wrong way. God calls us to not only put up with one another but to go beyond that. Our behaviour should be marked by love. And just as there are far more serious situations that require long-suffering, there are serious situations that require us to bear with another for a long time: chronic illnesses, unresolved crises, fractured relationships, etc.
Eagerly Maintain Unity
I love the fact that the adverb eagerly is used here. It is such a positive and active word. We don’t just sit around and keep our concerns to ourselves so as not to stir up division and cause hurt feelings. I see it as a proactive pursuit.
There are so many things we can do to bring about unity within the family of God. We need not get involved with unimportant issues. When there is something that must be addressed, we must first pray for a right attitude and the right words, then speak the truth in love, as I mentioned earlier. We must be more concerned about the other person’s wellbeing than proving ourselves right.
And perhaps the most difficult thing of all is that we must lovingly and kindly address the issue when another person or group of people is deliberately being hurtful and causing division and disunity. Easy? Definitely not. But it’s essential.
How Do We Walk Worthy?
So how can we walk worthy of our calling? By asking God to have His way in us. By worshipping with other believers. By digging deeply into His Word in order to equip ourselves to face what comes our way day by day. By prayerfully putting into practice the truths we find in the Scriptures. By taking our thoughts captive to Christ as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and learning to see things from His perspective.
Let’s seek to do so in the days ahead.
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