We’re makin progress on our journey through the book of Ephesians during our Sunday evening student ministry time. This past Sunday, we covered nearly half of chapter 4. At the beginning of this chapter, Paul urges us to live a life that is worthy of the calling we have received from God. When I read a verse like that, I tend to start thinking of what it means to be worthy. I start thinking, “what did Paul mean by a worthy life?” or “how do I become worthy?” and try to apply to my life. Many times I can’t figure it out and just give up. However, something struck me as I was preparing this study… Paul tells us to live a worthy life, and then he immediately starts talking about how we should treat other people. I wonder if there’s a connection between living a worthy life and how we interact in our relationships? That’s the question we discussed with our students.
Paul jumps into this by saying in verse 2:
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
So I take it that someone who lives a worthy life in God’s eyes is a person that navigates their relationships with these qualities. We talked about what it means to be humble and not thought of ourselves as better than everyone else. We also said humility means coming to the realization thatlife isn’t all about you. Our generation is obsessed with “me.” We each have our own cell phones, our own Facebook (where we tell the world all about us), our own stuff… It’s very easy in a culture like this to slip into a mindset of self-centeredness. Humility is the opposite of that. It means considering other people before yourself.
The second thing Paul mentioned is being gentle with each other. Now with teens, the subject of gentleness is a little different from how you would explain it to pre-schoolers. With toddlers, being gentle means not pushing, hitting, or biting your classmates. [Hopefully] Teens don’t typically have those issues in interacting with each other. So… how are we supposed to be gentle? One major way is control the way we speak to each other. We shouldn’t be harsh, abusive, or disrespectful with our words to each other. Gentleness means responding to people in a way that is considerate of their feelings and sensitivities.
Now, patience and making allowance for each other’s faults can be difficult. Here’s why: typically you don’t need patience for the people you get along with… It’s those certain people that really push your buttons that require patience. So that means God doesn’t just expect us to be patient with the people that we love to be around. We’re supposed to be patient with those who push our patience level! This is much more difficult. We all have that ONE PERSON that just drives us nuts… But that’s the very person we are to “make allowance” for…
So at the end of the day, what Ephesians 4 is saying about a worthy life is that it is one that handles life’s relationships in a Christ-like way. We challenged the students to think about who it is that they need to work on treating in a more worthy manner… Maybe it’s a friend, enemy, or even a family member.
Paul’s point is that we are the body of Christ [the church] and we should united. There can’t be unity where there is pride, harshness, and impatience. We are commanded by Jesus to love each other so that the world will know we are His followers. Our relationships are important. We can’t say with our mouths that Christ is our Lord and then treat people any way we feel like. As followers of Jesus, other people need to see Him living through us. So in closing this post… how would other people rate you in the areas of humility, gentleness, and patience?