Good Life Journal - Ephesians 4
"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...Now I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do: In the futility of their minds...
But that is not the way you learned Christ!-(what you have) heard about Him and were taught in Him...to put off your old self (which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds and to put on the new self-created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Excerpts from Eph 4:1-3, v17, 20-23
Paul: "Because of what I have written in the last three chapters and how you should reference foundationally-therefore I urge you to..." What and how should I review pursuing holiness, pursuing "walking worthy of the calling", putting on the new self...
How important is that? How do I identify what to do? How do I execute it? What do I prioritize or do I have to do all of this now?
My eyes glaze over. I thought I was set free from the bondage of rules and regulations.
Ephesians chapter 1 through 3 ramped up all the reasons that this "urging" by Paul makes sense. But how do I do these things like putting on humility, putting on gentleness, putting on patience...what does bearing with one another look like and in what situations do I need to do it with and what situation this doesn't apply?
What does "putting off and putting on" mean to me?
Walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called is a path that has talked about in the Scriptures, described in the Scriptures, and is something that I should pay attention to. But why isn't this talked about more with the brothers and sisters I am in community with? Why don't I talk with my Lord about this more? Why don't I preach to the guy in the mirror?
I have a lot of "why's" written here. My imagination says that many other folks either have the same "why's" or, because answers and directions are so hard to come by, simply move on to something else that is easier to define and act on---or just not do anything at all on purpose.
It is this phrase "on purpose" that can be the speed bump in the road toward walking worthy. To pursue something with purpose means a plan; it also means to identify an issue that needs a plan to address.
Once upon a time I approached this with an attitude to do it all at the same time; no plan, just address things as the Spirit guided me-basically ad hoc and unfocused-and with predictable results. Problem here is that I am only listening to the Spirit about this when I am thinking about it (and I didn't think about it often).
So what could I do? I decided to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures and start a plan. I started with the Fruit of the Spirit but worked backward through the list. Why? It is because the end of these lists are more of the detail that needs to be overcome in my life.
Paul wrote this to Timothy: "Practice these things; immerse yourself in them so all may see your progress...Persist in this..." (I Tim 4:14-15). Practicing walking worthy of the Gospel takes determination. Be determined therefore to honor Him who called you.
Lord God. I am very much aware of haphazard I am in pursuing this subject. And yet I want to be persistent. It is important to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Help me to address sanctification methodically-starting with foundations of the Gospel. For You and You alone I bow my head....AMEN.