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. (Eph.4:1-3)
This passage gives concrete down-to-earth advice on living out our discipleship. It tells us how to deal with the reality of Monday morning – for Paul it was chains. Three pieces of advice: Be worthy, Be completely, and Make every effort.
Live worthy of the calling you have received. Not sure what your calling is? You may not know what God is calling you to, not specifics, but we all have a general calling to holiness and purity. When we go with what God has generally called us to, then God will give us the specifics.
* Humble. This is counter-cultural. Society today tells us to push ourselves forward. Humility brings unity. Humility is like underwear – you can’t see it, but you can see its effects.
* Gentle (meek). As someone once said, ‘Meekness is not weakness.’ Being gentle doesn’t mean we allow people to walk all over us, we can be firm, but still gentle with people. John Stott said, ‘We need to be masters of ourselves and servants of others.‘
* Patient and forbearing. The same applies here as above with gentleness, with regard to other people, but we sometimes have to be patient with God too. He doesn’t always let us in on his plans, and sometimes we have to trust that he is in control, even when life gets hard.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. God has created the unity. When we are saved we become part of the church, Christ’s body on Earth, but we can pick away at it. Use the superglue of peace. We can’t do it at distance, we have to get close to one another.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph.4:11-13)
The passage goes on to talk about how to keep the unity (v4-16): grow up and build up. We are intended to become mature and like Christ. When we look at what Jesus has done, he gave completely and made every effort, so can we do any less?