Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Living Into the Calling
Eph. 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul jumps right back into the conversation which he began previously. The cosmic unity with Christ is to result in real changes among God’s people. He first reminds the people of his own commitment and life which is given in full service to God. The calling is for all of God’s people to live in unity with Christ and others. We are all called to be God’s holy people with visible changes in our lives marked by the fruit of the spirit.
Christian grace is to flow from the life of the one who is living into their calling. Others are to be intentionally esteemed and encouraged. This is the true understanding of living a life of humility and gentleness. The unity of God’s people becomes evident when we bear “with one another in love.” This is the intentional work of relationship development with all of those within Christ’s community of faith. The work of the church is to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
This bond to which we are called is to beautiful, and not oppressive. It takes work to be intentional about including sisters and brothers from all walks of life to the table. We all bring our own baggage with us and we will not be alike, but we cannot allow uniformity to be the gauge in the life of the church because if we do, we will be weak. Instead we need to imagine the colors of a beautiful patchwork quilt that shines because of the rich colors and diversity which are knit together in one purpose. When we live into the purposes of our calling we no longer become concerned with uniformity. There is no longer one standard of “success” but the strengths of each are appreciated in terms of the balancing out the whole.
Criticism and division in the church are not reflective of our calling. We must work at relationships and building one another up in holy love. This isn’t just a cute saying, but it’s a genuine reality. Unfortunately I find that in the church we find it easy to be critical and somehow we couch it in being “transparent” or “brutally honest.” We claim that this is some kind of virtue, while we leave people bruised and bleeding along the way.
As God’s representatives here on earth we are to embrace the calling to unity. If we begin to realize the high value which Christ places on this unity, we will make it a priority. The bond of God’s peace is holy love, and this will flow from God’s people when they have united with Christ. The theme here is unity, with Christ and with others. In these relationships God’s holy love is revealed to the world. We are to be bound to our sisters and brothers in Christ, and the ways in which we support one another will speak volumes about our love for Christ.
Lord, may I be an instrument of your peace, not critical of others, but bringing unity in our beautiful diversity. Amen.