The last two Sundays, I have been being both encouraged and challenged by GOD’s Word. We are studying through Ephesians when we don’t have a visiting speaker and it has been a great series.
The section I’ll pass on today isn’t even one of the huge emphases of the series although it has been a strong one. Not only that, but it forms the basis for much of what follows.
So much of Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching reminds is not so much a new list of commands, but rather a remind of what we already know. Instead of adding a new burden to us and telling us another long list of do’s and don’t, he simply tells us to live in a way that is worthy of who we are.
Not that this is any easier. But it is simpler to keep up with in our heads. We don’t have a long list of do’s and don’t’s. It is sort of like being a member of the royal family. They have certain protocols they need to live out because they are part of the family. There are certain people they are allowed to marry and not allowed to marry. While it is true that some of the sanctions have been eased, you get the drift of what I’m talking about.
The comparison can be made to royalty
They have a bloodline that isn’t supposed to be tainted by just any old common blood. There is a standard for their (public) behavior, their spouse, their dress.
As believers, we have a calling. We are a special people called to represent GOD in this world. This is how we are to do it. As His representatives, we are to be genuine through and through. We are not to be fake in the way we represent Him.
Humility and gentleness
These characteristics show a genuineness in our love for Christ. They show a change of heart in the direction of His values. Humility and gentleness with patience…these don’t come naturally to most of us. They need to be brought about by a work of GOD in us as we submit to His work in our lives through others and through sometimes difficult life circumstances. Only GOD can give us the ability to trust Him during hard times, during time when humility and patience is hard to come by.
Bearing with one another in love
And bearing with each other in love? Does anyone find that easy? I rarely have. People who are difficult to love or be patient with are not easy to love or bear with. And often GOD puts them in our churches. Sometimes we are those people for someone else. We think if we change churches it will solve the problem, but it never does. There is always someone just like it at another church…always! Learning to love others who are difficult to love is something GOD must want us to do! He gives so many opportunities for us to learn to do this!
Eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace!
And learning to maintain unity in the bond of peace! It is so much easier to share that funny story about this person or that one that makes you look better isn’t it? Maintaining peace, bearing with others in love, exercising humility? Over time, I can’t think of any one place where I have had to learn this than in the church. No it wasn’t the only place, but it has been one place where I have been pushed to learn these things.
Looking back, I have also come to love people I never dreamed I could ever love…or even like! Often, I didn’t even know when the change happened. But all of a sudden, I realized GOD had changed me. And now I like, even enjoyed being around that person that made me so uncomfortable!
It’s one of the hardest things, being a Christian. Working on my default selfish nature, to reflect Christ within me is something that has taken a long time, and will never fully complete it seems. Good thing I have years to continue with this journey 🙂
Farin, isn’t it a good thing Jesus is doing the work in you? He is the one who knows what needs to be done and when…better than you. that is even more encouraging to know and believe when circumstances arise that have you scratching your head and wondering “why?” He is working to make you more like Him in areas you hadn’t even planned on!