If you will indulge me for just a moment, I would like to share with you, again, something from last week’s article. Our calling, in this life, as living sacrifices, is to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1), walking in this life, just as He did (1st John 2:6). The one-another verses we are learning about are “aspects of sacrifice” in a disciple’s life. I hesitate to say that, because the urge to create that list lurks within me. But what if I view the one-another verses as a sort of mosaic picture of Jesus, as He walked this earth? These verses then become a means by which I can better understand what it means to imitate Him. Thus, they are no longer used as a check list, but instead, as building blocks from above, as God molds me into His image.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy
of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and
gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…
I so desperately want to “walk worthy of the calling,” but sadly must admit that at times, the things I know I should do, I don’t always do (Romans 7:19). Just recently someone lovingly told me how I frustrate them at times, by the things I do. I lay claim to the hope that is in Christ and don’t mention these things to in any way diminish the joy of my salvation that I have because of Christ; still, I am, at times, painfully aware that I am a work in progress. May the “power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20) help us in that progression towards the likeness of Christ.
Part of “walking worthy of the calling” involves longsuffering: that is, slowness in avenging wrongs. This involves the sometimes-arduous task of “bearing with one another in love.” Bearing here means to endure with equanimity. Gene Getz writes, “Some people have the most difficulty accepting the weaknesses in others that remind them of the same weaknesses in themselves.” Wow, that hurt a little, because for me, there is some truth behind it. Maybe that is why “all lowliness and gentleness” needs to be involved.
As we journey forward, there will be the need to bear with one another through longsuffering. This is not tolerance of sinful behavior; but instead, an enduring and forgiving attitude that grasps the reality that we are works in progress. And as long as we are genuinely seeking to progress toward the likeness of Christ, we need to be willing to give each other the same patience God gives to us. This is just another aspect of a Christian willingly living a sacrificial life for Christ.