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A Worthy Calling

“Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 
Ephesians 4:1-3

Paul talks to us, while in prison, of the virtues of humility, gentleness and patience.

As C.S. Lewis explains in Mere Christianity, in Christian moral teaching, the opposite of pride is humility. And Rick Warren says of the virtue, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; but thinking of yourself less.[1] Humility implies a freedom from arrogance which grows with the recognition that all we have and are comes from God, by seeing ourselves as we truly are–including our inadequacies.

Second, gentleness may be translated as meekness, but being gentle or meek does not mean weak. Jesus was gentle and meek, but He was anything but weak. Gentleness is more a type of kindness–perhaps better a consideration of others that is compassionate; the opposite of harshness and severity. It carries with it the idea of power surrendered (to God). So be gentle. Do not use your power or authority for your own benefit.

And the third virtue Paul urges us in which to grow is patience. This one is about bearing with others in a way that will glorify the Lord, being in relationships for the long haul. Why patience? Because people can be difficult. You can be difficult! I can be difficult! We need patience during those times when we and others are difficult with which to deal: walking with them, helping them grow, not giving up because they antagonize. We love one another like Christ loves us.

We need these virtues for the unity of the Spirit. We need these virtues to foster peace. Love is not an emotion: love is an act of the will. It is what knits the body together. It is our love for one another that unites us and the tools of this love are humility, gentleness and patience.

Unity is something that Paul has talked about extensively. It is also something that is talked about often today. No one is perfect here on earthall of us sin and fall short. Yet Christ still calls us to accept and love others, even with diverse and opposing viewpoints, and learn from each other with humility, gentleness and patience.

[1] Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life
The Rev. Gill Keyworth
Pastoral Associate
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