Ah, these are some wonky days, aren’t they? Just when we were all thinking we were moving past COVID, the news is reporting an elevated number of cases. Many are wrestling with fear, depression, and anxiety. Others are plain old sick and tired of hearing about COVID. We’ve had it with quarantine and social distancing!
The question is how do we live out our divine calling in holy unity in the midst of these crazy times?
This past week I was reading Paul’s instructions to the Ephesian believers. Paul wrote, “As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love towards one another especially towards those who may try your patience” (Ephesians 4:1-2 The Passion Translation). Got anyone who tries your patience? Have anyone in your life who’s a touch annoying? Anyone that has hurt you recently? Yup. That’s where the rub comes for most of us. We love to think we’re walking in holiness because we likely haven’t robbed a bank or committed adultery. But Paul lays out holy living in very clear terms for us. And his terms of holiness might be a touch different than yours. He calls us to walk in unity in our holiness. How is this even possible when we have so many different opinions? Paul gives us some great tips:
With Tender Humility. Hold your opinions with humility. It’s okay to love others deeply who hold entirely different views than you. Humility is at the very core of the gospel. Jesus came to earth as a servant. He didn’t demand his rights or seek to dominate others. He came to do the Father’s will, and although He had every right in heaven, He laid down his rights on your behalf and mine (Philippians 2). I believe so much disunity happens because we elevate our opinions to the place of an idol. Then we want everyone to agree with us. But people see issues from all different angles. Focus on understanding rather than convincing…especially within the body of Christ.
Quiet Patience. The idea behind this word patience is to quietly accept each other. Recently, Steve and I were reflecting on our time overseas as missionaries. In our particular field there were two very strong women who were each wonderful in their own right, but who did not get along. The tension between them reached epic proportions. An outside businessman actually confided to Steve that the fighting between these two women was diminishing the testimony and reputation of the mission we were serving. Ouch! As believers, we’re going to hold different views on issues and current events, but we have one Lord and He prayed in John 17 that we would be one! Each of us is going to have faults, triggers, weaknesses, and strong opinions on some things. Exercise quiet patience with each other.
Always Gentle. Wow! That’s a big task. Are you always gentle? Me neither! Yet, that’s the goal Jesus asks us to strive for. I am always amazed at how many people feel the impulse to “scold” others on social media. I hate being scolded. What about you? Paul gives us firm instructions to pursue and speak with gentleness. To the Philippian church he wrote, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5).
Generous Love. Offer unrestrained generosity and love to others. Don’t hold back. This past week I was in line at the drive-thru of Starbucks. When I got to the window to pay, they told me the lady in front of me had paid for me. How kind!! Generosity is such an amazing character trait! Think about it. If any one phrase describes the love of Christ, it’s that. Friend, make it your goal to be generous with your love this week. Try to bless at least one person with a random act of generosity. The world needs a bit of encouragement right now, and you have a message of hope. Live your divine calling with an emphasis on holiness.
Psalms for the Anxious Heart releases July 7! You’re going to love this little devotional book. You can preorder your copy today at the link below: