I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3, ESV.
The humility of the apostle Paul is astounding. A Jewish scholar and successful zealot miraculously converted on the Road to Damascus, assigned the office of apostle and the role of missionary to the Gentiles, Paul has an impressive ministry résumé. But, writing to the church in Ephesus, he calls attention to the fact that his current calling is to be a prisoner for his service to Christ.
Following this reminder of his humble circumstances, Paul calls on the church to live lives that are “worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” What characterizes this worthy life? Is it daring deeds of faith? Is it drawing large crowds for gospel programs? Is it pastoring a large church? None of these. A worthy walk is a humble walk. Paul calls upon the church to sacrifice for one another in humility in order to maintain spiritual unity in the church.
We desperately need to heed this call in the church today. Be it at the denominational level or the level of the local congregation, the contemporary church in America stands divided over almost every imaginable topic. Inspired more by social media than the Spirit of God, her members too often echo the haughty and angry mood of the culture around her. As this happens, the church experiences the reality of this simple biblical formula: Pride destroys. Humility builds. Both James and Peter look to Proverbs 3:34 and declare, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
It is time to look at one another and, before we speak the next words or make the next post on social media, ask these probing questions: Am I being humble toward my brother or proud? Am I being gentle toward them or harsh? Am I being patient or rash? Am I bearing with them or adding to their burden? Am I showing love or hate? Is my heart eager to promote peace or am pursuing victory in a war of words?
The sinless Son of God humbled Himself by taking on flesh and went willingly to a humiliating and painful death to redeem people who did not deserve it. That is how the church was born. Is it any wonder that she only finds “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” when her members live lives of humility?
May God grant that we each walk humbly before one another and our God today. This is my prayer.