Daily Devotional: Ephesians 4:1-6

Therefore, because Paul wants the saints to comprehend God’s love, he implores them to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which they have been called. The way we live is in direct connection to our comprehension of God’s love. It is true that works are not required for salvation. They are, though, necessary if we are to comprehend the love of God for us. It is astounding to me that Paul doesn’t here begin shouting rules, “Don’t you dare touch that or drink that.” Instead, he begins talking about a person’s character.

Walk with all humility. Consider others to be more important than yourself. Listen to them and try to understand their position rather than imposing your own. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Honor your convictions, but don’t expect others to be just like you. It’s not about you or your rules or your religiosity. God alone will receive glory. Speak few words, but make them count to the glory of God. Paul doesn’t merely instruct people to be humble but to walk with all humility. Those who speak much and loudly reveal their own foolishness rather than the wisdom of Christ. What has humility to do with comprehending God’s love for us? Is God not humble? Does He not present himself like a servant? Did He not come to a manger in the small town of Bethlehem? Did He not choose mercy by substituting Himself for us? Does He not now act toward us without wrath but edifying us despite our sin? He does. He wins His glory, not through oppression but humility.

Walk with all gentleness. We are instructed not merely to walk with some gentleness, but all gentleness. Gentility requires much strength of conscience and mind. It partners with humility. Instead of being harsh toward others or making fun of or name-calling, we treat others gently. This is a statement referring to our relationships to others for the sake of unity. It does not mean men must forsake their ability to swing a persuader or fend off wolves. As far as our relationships in the body of Christ—walk with all gentleness.

Walk with all patience. We do not walk with only some patience, but all patience toward one another. When we invest in others, it can be easy to get frustrated or impatient with them if they don’t get it or if we don’t see their change or if they never come to agree with us about our own convictions. That is the selfish way of our flesh rather than the love of God. The love of God has all patience, so we are to have all patience as well. We practice all patience with all humility because we might even be incorrect in the very thing we are tempted to be impatient about.

We show all tolerance for one another in love. We do not force separation because others don’t do things our way or hold to our particular convictions. We don’t cause division because of someone’s political or fiscal views—these things are temporary. Instead, we show all tolerance—accepting all those who profess Christ despite any differences that may be. This doesn’t mean we don’t seek to edify one another through discipleship. It doesn’t mean we have to tolerate everything in the world, for there are some things we should not tolerate. It does mean that, within the body of Christ, we show all tolerance to one another. After all, God shows all tolerance to you and me, and He knows our hearts.

We are diligent not to cause division or build barriers but, instead, to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Why? Paul draws our attention back to who God is again. There is one body, the church. The is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit. There is one hope, the resurrection. There is one Lord, Jesus Christ. There is one faith, that given by Jesus Christ. There is one baptism, into Christ (not a religion or denomination). There is one God and Father of of all. He is over all, through all, and in all. Therefore, we are one people. The body of Christ is not divided by denominational lines. The body of Christ is not separated by doctrinal differences. The universal church is not delineated by music style or generation. There are doubtless false churches, but that is not what Paul speaks about here. There is only one body of Christ and spiritual people of God. There is not even division between Jew and Gentile. God is one. Therefore, His people are one people. Be humble. Be together.

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