Ephesians 4:1-3 The Voice (VOICE)
4 As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. 2 Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. 3 Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.
The answer is in the question. We love them the most. We care about their opinions, their choices, and their overall well-being. We are comfortable with them and they see all of our vulnerability. They see our flaws. This gives them ammunition when there is disagreement.
I love the Voice translation of Ephesians 4. It says tolerate one another with an atmosphere thick with love. God knew that people would get on our nerves. He knew that the enemy would use people and their attitudes/circumstances to test our own character. He knew that sometimes we wouldn’t want to be around them, but we have to choose love.
I have fallen short so many times. My oldest daughter is much like me when I was her age (scary). I would love for her to learn from my mistakes, but I can’t make her understand what I’ve learned. Some things can only be learned through hands on experience.
Sometimes I lose my temper with my son during homework time because he turns 10 minutes of homework into 3 hours of torture (why is he punishing me). He can easily do the work; he just doesn’t want to. I must choose love by being patient as I seek God for creative help.
When my toddler throws a tantrum, I must be gentle. When I think that I am right in dealing with my husband, I must choose to love with humility. I could go on, but I think my point is made.
My greatest desire in life is to please God and fulfill my calling. I can only do this by living out His Word. I’m not perfect, but praise God that I’m not condemned either.
Romans 8:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Free from Indwelling Sin
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The key is realizing our flaws and surrendering them to Jesus. Our freedom from guilt was paid for by the blood of Jesus, but it is our jobs to be purposeful in trying to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. When we realize that we are off (the Holy Spirit always lets us know), then repent and do better.
Choosing love in all things…… This should be easy, I’d like to say it’s always my first response, but unfortunately I must choose. Love is a fruit of the spirit that was given to us as a gift. God cannot make us use it, but we will be known by how we use it.
This is why it is important to be slow to speak. We have to listen, without making our anger become sin. We have to choose our words wisely so that we may respond in love.
James 1:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
Qualities Needed in Trials
19 [a]So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
God is love. Love is our greatest commandment. Love is what will draw others to Christ. Love is what heals. Love is what saved us. Tolerate each other in love. Be purposeful in choosing words of love. Use patience, humility, and gentleness. This is what walking in the worthiness of your calling looks like. Love………
Father, thank You for graciously extending us a calling in You. We know that love is at the center of it all. Forgive us for not always choosing love in a way that glorifies You. Make us aware when we fall short so that we can repent and get it right. Help us tolerate each other in love even when we don’t feel like it. Let us keep peace and act in humility, gentleness, and patience. We want to choose love and walk in it in everything that we do. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!