“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
In Ephesians 4, Paul zeroes in on how we relate to each other-especially when telling difficult truths. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Humility, gentleness, and patience form our relational foundation. Cultivating those character qualities as God guides us will help us “speak the truth in love” and seek to communicate “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.’
No one likes being confronted about weaknesses and blind spots. But when something about us “smells,” God can use faithful friends to speak into our lives with grace, truth, humility, and gentleness.
- When has someone gently confronted you?
- What do you think is most important when you lovingly address a weakness you see in others?
Father, help us to humbly receive correction, and help me to offer it with love, grace, and gentleness.
Ephesians 4:1-5, 25-31
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism…
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, long with every form of malice.
On his third missionary journey, Paul spent three years teaching the believers in Ephesus. Some six years later, concerned for their spiritual well-being and maturity, he wrote from a Roman prison reminding them how God had so richly and graciously blessed them. After extolling the privileges, position, and possessions they had because of Jesus, the apostle instructed them to “live a life worthy of their calling”, an exhortation that Paul similarly made to the Philippian 1:27, Colossian 1:10, and Thessalonian believers (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11). The Ephesian believers were to be like Christ in how they treated one another-humble, gentle, patient, forbearing, loving, encouraging, kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
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