Friday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 4:1-3

The Way to Walk Together

With chapter four, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians turns from doctrine to the more practical matters regarding living a holy life—which was ever Paul’s chief concern.  He repeats the matter of his imprisonment for preaching the gospel (3:1), a fact that lends weight to whatever he writes; that is, this is a man who has lived the Christian life and suffered for it who is speaking to us.  Listen to Him!

And what does he urge the Ephesians (and us) to do?  He urges them to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [they] have been called.”  This is so vitally important; indeed, if there is any test of the Christian life, that test is holiness—the desire, will, and the living out of the life of Christ in our day to day life before him and others.  This is what it is to “walk.”  The Christian life is a life of worship and devotion, but it must also consist in a manner of life which befits such worship and devotion.  And just in case we miss the point, Paul even lists some of these virtues which must accompany how the Christian walks: humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, and seeking “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Now Paul is speaking here primarily of how Christians are to behave as a church body.  The members of the body of Christ are to manifest such virtues as our Lord so plainly revealed when he walked among his disciples: What patience!  What gentleness!  How he put up with their shortcomings and faithlessness!  How forgiving he was!  These are the virtues that nurture unity within the body.  And notice that we are to be “eager to maintain” this unity.  I fear that we are too eager for some things like pressing our own opinions and not eager enough for unity.  This does not mean that there is never a time for admonishing brothers and sisters who are not walking according to such a rule, but it does mean that such admonitions are more likely to be received by those who are walking this way.  And these are the virtues members should shower upon one another as they show the world what a true community of people looks like.

But second, Christians should manifest such virtues before the world as well, and they are sorely lacking.  Social media has had the unfortunate consequence of making all of us less civil, not to mention humble or patient or kind.  Christians must use these tools with care.  But it is too easy to hide behind a computer screen.  Let us make sure that we display these virtues before others that they may see our “good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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