22nd May 2023

  Kevin Carson offers the challenge


In the midst of life's many challenges, followers of Jesus effectively
choose how they will respond.

God's goal remains the same no matter what the pressure is in life -
to live a God-honouring life that is consistent with the Gospel.
In the text (Ephesians 4:1-6) the call to walk worthy means to walk in balance.

"Your calling" refers to the first half of Ephesians
where Paul explains the Gospel. He basically breaks down the Gospel message
into three main categories:

1) The Gospel Call - Salvation (Eph 2:1-10),
2) The Gospel Context - the Body of Christ (Eph 2:11-22), and
3) The Gospel Capacity - the Power of the Spirit (Eph 3:20-21; cf. Eph 1:19-23).

Therefore, the effort to live in balance begins by understanding
the significance of the call of the Gospel in one's life.

God provided for salvation (unto sanctification), provided the people of God in which
the process of sanctification is lived out together in peace, and provided
the power of the Holy Spirit which makes it all possible.

This is true for every follower of Jesus.
God put you on the path of growth (salvation to sanctification),
placed you where growth is possible (the people of God),
and gave you the power to become more like Jesus (the power of the Spirit).

These three senses of the Gospel capture the situation of every person
who enjoys a relationship with Jesus. This is "the calling" to which Paul refers.

The other side of balance depends upon you.
This relates to how you live each day.
What do you do with the realities of the Gospel in daily living?

This is where we are challenged to walk consistent, live in balance, or
otherwise live a God-honouring life, which represents all He has done for us
and continues to do for us

We live out the call of God in our lives with all humility and gentleness,
patience, forbearance, and protecting the unity of the Spirit.

Humility basically means that you see God and others as more important than yourself.

You take on a lowly position. Jesus, of course, is the perfect example of humility.
Pride and humility are in opposition to each other.

Gentleness refers to meekness and is part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Gentleness basically means one's strength or power is under control, self-control.
As a fruit of the Spirit, you essentially take on the tender heart of Jesus toward others.
A gentle person intentionally cares about how he or she interacts with others.

Patience describes a person who has a long fuse.

When something happens that would normally result in anger,
the person exhibiting patience is slow to anger.
In the Bible, God is known as slow to anger.
As a fruit of the Spirit, the Spirit provides you the ability to
respond slowly to any kind of provocation.

Forbearance relates to a general sense of putting up with one another in love.

Of these five characteristics, this is the hardest one to clearly articulate in one word.
In fact, 'forbearing' is also translated endurance with each other, putting up with
one another, showing tolerance for one another, and the list goes on.
In other words, forbearance governs how we handle people in love
who differ from our own preferences.

Keeping the unity of the Spirit captures your total effort at living with each other.
As far as it depends upon you, you strive to protect, honour, and live,
in light of the peace provided through the Spirit between you and other Christians.

The unity of the Spirit is that bond of peace provided for between believers
by Jesus through the cross.

What do we do with this peace?
Paul exclaims, we endeavour to keep it.
In other words, we do our very best - make our best effort -
put everything we have into protecting the unity of the Spirit.

We make every effort to protect this priceless gift from God to us,
that is, our peace. | Wisdom for Life in Christ Together