Thoughts from Ephesians 4 To inspire, strengthen and settle you in your daily walk with family and believers. It is my prayer that you will be encouraged and come up to a new level in your walk with The Lord and others around you. Grace to you! Each morning, let it be a conscious decision to walk this way through the day. Not many days ago I met with a challenge myself on walking in love as I like to do. Two friends spoke out of character in relation to my writings and became very pushy (without restraint) in what they thought I should and should not do. Neither one of them knows much at all about what I do and other friends are strongly in favor. This was followed by a misunderstanding with a close family member and I could not give understanding that was rightfully hers. It would seem that the opposite way around would be in order. I just had one of the loveliest phone calls with her today after writing these verses of scripture I have been reading and reflecting on from Ephesians 4:1-4. The richness and quality of conversation we had was possible because of the compassion we had one for the other. We love verses like the following.
I have paraphrased them for you with the inspiration the Holy Spirit has been giving me. 1. I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. NIV 1. Yes, walk in a manner worthy of this calling. NASB 2. With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love ESV Let the manner in which you walk be consistent – not humble one day and proud the next; not quick to be offended or impatient but seek to be tolerant and build each-other up. 2. With all lowliness and meekness KJV accepting one another in love HCSB Jesus was lowly and meek in temperament – seek to be like Him and show acceptance like He would in everyday situations that you encounter. 3. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. NIV In patience, live in unity with each-other. Let Peace be your standard. 3. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. KJV Yes, each of us were called into this Bond of Peace in Christ, we need to remember that and perpetuate it - purpose to live in this Peace. Look after it each one of you. 3. Be eager to maintain it ESV diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us HCSB Let this vision be something you embrace even with eagerness, showing yourself to be diligent (to God and to man) appreciating others around you - strengthening and inspiring each-other. 3. Yes, it’s unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and we should seek to preserve it. JV We do these things in the strength of the Spirit – it cannot be lived out in our own strength because it would be sure to fail us in given situations. But through the enabling of the gracious Holy Spirit, we can live in harmony with each-other making the vocation of our calling a pleasant pursuit, attracting others around us from darkness to light. This is precious in His sight. 4. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling (in Christ Jesus) NASB Such is the Hope of our calling – it is possible to live this way. We are one Body, one Family, called by the same Holy Spirit – through all and in all. Humility and gentleness, with patience. There does not seem to be enough of these in the life of some Christians. There's so much spiritual pride.........and even sharp words, often accompanied by impatience. My brothers and sisters, the world is like that. We did not learn those things from Jesus or Paul or Peter or John. Let us get a true picture of ourselves and compare it with Jesus......what do we find? We do this best by looking into His Word like a mirror. When we do this, it will show us if things are not quite right (like a mirror does) and if you read prayerfully in His presence, scriptures like these will bring you new-found desires to be more like Him - it will make you feel so good and whole within. We see the words acceptance and tolerance here. So often in life we can clash (inwardly or outwardly) over our point of view - failing to see the view of a family member or Christian friend; not making room for theirs as well; feeling that ours is more important or correct. There are a few things to consider here: God made us all different and gave us an ability to have an opinion; it is nice for each one to express them when it is appropriate to do so - in conversation this is fair exchange; often one will see the sun is close and warm while the other sees it as yellow and far away. Both have a sense of correctness and a point of interest. By insisting on our opinion and failing to listen closely, we are showing the other person their words are not valued. In a sense of speaking, we could be rejecting part of that person's thought patterns; the way they express themselves and maybe even their value system (we all have one). That's being thoughtless, unkind and inconsiderate. It shows selfishness and a lack of maturity on our part. WE NEED TO BE GOOD LISTENERS - SOMETIMES WE CAN BE SELF-ABSORBED AND WE MAY EXPRESS OURSELVES A LOT. MOST PEOPLE CAN EXCUSE THE OCCASIONAL EXCITEMENT. TRY TO BE FAIR - ALL OF US LIKE TO FEEL VALUED! Scripture says not to be quarrelsome. The Lord made us as family members and believers to complement each-other. Friends are gifts that make life enjoyable. Let's nurchure our relationships with the love and respect they deserve - could well be that we can learn something from the other person or The Lord has something to show/express to us through them. Yes, our Father made us to complement each-other. The adversary wants us to clash - that's why he found a way to bring fallen-nature to God's Creation. Before that, "we were made in the Image of God"......in Christ, this is restored......"Christ in us the Hope of Glory"......this is for us to live out day by day. That makes the choices we make throughout the day or the week important. Right choices (to live and speak like Jesus) can lift you into a whole new dimension but wrong choices can keep you from moving in God and God moving for you. So try to keep the Unity and treasure it like silver, for with it comes the Blessing of The Lord. Because you don't see or accept someone's opinion does not mean you should reject them or show a lack of tolerance. Preachers should stress the importance of these things more often. Scripture says "It is the little foxes that spoil the vine".......Jesus is the vine and our rifts with each-other can spoil our fellowship with Him - it's not the same. Clashes can often occur when we impose our opinion or seek to have our way with the other person. If you do this often, there is a saying for you "Not my way or your way but Yahweh" Nifty is'nt it? And that says a lot really. In other words, let's walk in love. TAKE CARE. ALL OF YOU. Diligence means something that you keep at without wavering. That’s what the NIV means by making every effort to keep this unity of the Spirit. Another thing is to keep yourself nourished with His words of life prayerfully, so you can be full of the Spirit. It can be real hard work otherwise – as long as we all have His treasure in earthen vessels. And if you fail at it sometimes, look to Him for fresh strength and sustenance not forgetting to see yourself and others through His Love. Grace and Peace to you – Mercy as you seek to live this way. It can be enriching and rewarding. I have used 5 bible versions for these verses that gives a richer rendering and paraphrased them. NIV (New International Version) NASB (New American Standard Bible) KJV (King James Version) ESV (English Standard Version) HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) JV indicates my wording, close to translations. Ephesians 4:32 is a recent favorite I have been writing on along with the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 They speak of walking in love with kindness and compassion. Having a spirit of “togetherness”. Apart from prayer and scripture, that’s what pleases our God and Father the most……hey? There's so much concern about what our calling is often in the Body of Christ or talk about what our calling is. Friends, we have the most important calling there is in life - to be like Jesus - that's what these verses are all about. Compassion one for the other can be like a cosy blanket when we walk in it daily. And when each one grows in it, this gets even sweeter! Would you like to accompany me in this walk? “BLESS YOU”