Continuing our study of Ephesians and the idea of “practicing what you preach” we come to an interesting passage in chapter 4 of Ephesians. God, once again, wants to emphasize the importance of living out your faith on a daily basis. Many people have this idea that “faith” is something private, only influencing the religious part of your life yet totally left out of your secular life. If you know anything about the Word of God then you know that your relationship with God (your faith) is not just a part of life, it is a way of life. You relationship with God influences every other part of your life. If you have a faith hat that you put on in private and on worship days and then a secular hat that you wear the rest of the time then I can guarantee you that you do not “practice what the Bible preaches”. Here is what God says about living out your faith:
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, (Eph 4:1-4)
1. If we really want to practice what we preach then we must walk (live) in a manner worthy of the calling with which we were called. As true Christians, we were all called to a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. There is a standard that goes along with that calling. The One who calls us is the same One who sets the standard. You may ask, “how do I walk in a manner worthy of the calling?”. That is a great question and God has the response in the text.
- With all lowliness (humbleness in another translation)
- With all meekness (meek does not mean weak, meek means that you receive every situation in your life as coming from God, He has to allow everything that happens to you to happen, meekness means power under control, you allow yourself to be controlled by God, it is like the difference between a wild horse and a tamed horse, both are powerful but only one is useful for anything).
- With longsuffering (patience)
- Forbearing with one another (bearing with or tolerating one another)
- With love (this is the key to success, the glue that holds it all together)
- Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit (we all have the Spirit of God in us and we must work to listen to the Spirit which will cause unity among us, I do my part and you do your part and the Spirit together with love will cause unity among us, even though we are very different as people). If we do this then peace among believers will be the result. If there are divisions among the church, if there is gossiping and backbiting then you can be sure that there is an attitude problem. If we have correct attitudes, practicing what we preach, then there will be unity and peace among us. What is your situation like? Is there constant bickering and backbiting among the members of your church or among those who call themselves Christians? What does this text teach us about these problems and about resolving them?
As you can see, the key to success is your attitude. If you have the right attitude about yourself and about others then you will create unity and peace with the people around you. If you sow only discord and division, what does that say about you? What do you need to do?
2. Our motivation for unity and peace among us is oneness. What do I mean by this? Just what the text says; there is only one body of Christ. As believers we cannot be divided and be part of the same body. A divided body is a sick body. If you want to practice what you preach then you need to have a healthy body by creating unity and peace. There is One Spirit and if we all have the same Spirit then we will all practice what we preach, we will all strive to create unity and peace. Finally, as Christians, we all have the same calling and the same hope of our calling, a genuine relationship with God that moves us to build genuine relationships with others. This is what Jesus said when asked what is the greatest commandment of all:
Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Mat 22:36-40)
Is your love for God reflected in the way that you love others? Do you seek unity and peace with others, especially among your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? May the Lord help us have a great relationship with Him and seek unity and peace.