Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last week I wrote about living a life worthy of our calling. We saw that our calling begins with the kind of people we are, and not the things we do. Paul emphasized this in Eph 4:1-2, where he wrote: “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.”
Humility, gentleness, patience, and loving forbearance all relate to our character, and in urging us to live a life worthy of our calling from God, this is where Paul begins. Paul does not refer to doing great things for God, but growing in these character traits – what some might even consider rather lowly character traits. After all, how many people really aspire to excel in these qualities?
Why would Paul put these at the top of the list as it concerns our calling? I think for several reasons. First, these qualities were fully embraced and lived out by Jesus. Jesus said of Himself in Mt. 11:29, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” Furthermore, Jesus did not just say this about Himself; He demonstrated it. Phil. 2:6-8 reminds us that in coming to us, Jesus made Himself nothing, He took on the nature of a servant, and even humbled Himself by obediently dying on the cross for us. As followers of Jesus, we should continually be becoming more like Jesus.
Second, growing in Christian character serves to authenticate the things we do for Jesus. People can do even good things from false or selfish motives. But we cannot fake character; at least, not over the long haul. When people see Christ-like character flowing from us, it confirms that our faith is real, and it confirms that the things we do spring from a heart devoted to Jesus and not from any selfish motives. It thus enhances our witness for Christ.
Next week I will continue this by mentioning two more reasons it is crucial for us to be growing in the qualities of Christ-likeness.
Grace and peace,