As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make 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 when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1–6)
Up until this week’s text, Paul has not given correction or made demands on his readers. Then in just a few lines, he lays out a series of directives for right living. Because Christ has made his home within us and we are rooted in his love, we are able to live in a way that brings glory to him. Namely being humble, gentle, and patient, putting up with others in love and seeking to keep unity.
Today these attributes are counter-cultural. Humbleness can be seen as weakness, as an invitation for others to run riot over us. Gentleness can disappear like a vapor in the rough and tumble of life, as we rush from one important matter to the next. Patience wears thin when we have too many demands and feel inadequate. Selfishness often supersedes loving each other. And unity breaks down at the first whiff of conflict.
And yet, this is what we are called to and what we are equipped for with Christ at our center. We were made for others, and only experience the true riches of Christ when we live in community. Here we work out our faith, sometimes with fear and trembling. If we pause in the heat of the moment, reflecting that Christ lives within, we can apportion his grace to make us gentle and loving as we put our fellows before ourselves.
As you seek the one God and Father, the one Lord and the one Spirit, may you have hope and faith in him who is over, through and in all.
For reflection: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4).