Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16, NRSV
Location: First preached at Grace Presbyterian Church of Ft. Worth, Florida
In Ephesians 4:1-16Paul has advice for us – effectively - You are Christians, so be mature and act like it. In modern terms: Don’t act like a baby. You aren’t a kid anymore. Don’t join in the ludicrous examples of conflict methodology. Instead speak the truth in love. Stop letting the world create false claims that tear humanity apart and instead grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. For in Jesus the whole body is joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Yes, the system is broken. You and I are the holy people that God has called to redeem the system. Yet even still, without Christ-like maturity, Paul tells us – that we are vulnerable to all kinds of trickery.
So how have you been tricked lately? Where are those places that you’ve allowed yourself to get baited into unbecoming or even ungodly behavior? Where are the places in your life where you have strayed from humility and gentleness? In what aspects of life have you lost your patience with someone? I am pretty sure I lose mine every time I drive in South Florida. (People are terrible drivers here!)
But all kidding aside - Are we really bearing with one another in love? Are we making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? And maybe more importantly, are we really risking ourselves to extend that peace and love to others – especially those who have been falsely told that they don’t belong - even when it may cost us our safety, our comfort, our reputation?
Because… That is exactly the love, and the vulnerability and the care that the Christ we follow has shown us.
May God so convict our hearts to be inseparable from one another as we seek to unite the world in building humanity up in love.
In the Holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. In what aspect(s) of life would you like to be more virtuous?
Q2. What is a way that you could gain more serenity in situations that try your patience?
Q3. How have you risked your safety, or comfort, or reputation to extend someone else peace or show them love?