Walking in a Worthy Manner
“I…a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Almost every day I spend time on a treadmill for exercise, but I don’t personally think of it as walking, because I don’t go anywhere. I end up in the same spot where I started. However, if you or I go for a walk, we expect to travel; even if we do end up where we started, we have moved forward in the process. There are plenty of times when the Bible speaks of people physically walking from one place to another. However, there are just as many places in Scripture where “walking” refers to the way people were living or obeying God. For example, In Exodus 16:4, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.’” Will God’s people obey his command to gather manna each day or not? In Ephesians 4, Paul uses the term in the same way, urging believers in Ephesus to live as followers of Jesus Christ, according to his teaching, God’s commands, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Ephesian Christians were to start living for Jesus when called to faith in Christ and continue living for him, without stopping.
Being called to believe in Jesus Christ is an honor that deserves the utmost thanksgiving and appreciation. Paul describes it as “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:18-20) Here is Paul, a prisoner in Rome, who values his calling more than his very life, having given up his freedom for his faith in Jesus Christ. Surely he wants his brothers and sisters in faith to understand that Christ sacrificed his life for them to an even greater extent than Paul. They and we should follow in Christ’s footsteps, by his grace and power, to live a life that is worthy of his sacrifice.
Paul is specific about the way to walk as Jesus desires—with humility, gentleness, patience, and love—fruits of the Spirit of God. We are to be long-suffering to keep the unity that the Holy Spirit has already given us as a body. We are not responsible for creating this bond; God does so when we are adopted into his family. But it takes diligence and a dedicated commitment to maintain harmony when the world, our sin, and Satan all conspire to pit us against each other. Paul has experienced conflict as much as anyone. He told the elders in Ephesus, “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:18-21)
Once again, Paul sets an example for us of the way to walk with Jesus—with humble peacefulness, patience, gentleness, and enduring love. Which of these attributes is your strength? Your weakness? How can you more effectively maintain the unity of the Spirit with your Christian brothers and sisters?