By Kevin V. Rutherford
The word "walk" is often used in the New Testament to present the idea of "a way of life."
When one is walking a certain way that means he or she is living that way. The Christian walk is the great walk to which we have been called by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To walk worthy of this call we must be lowly (Ephesians 4:1-2). That is, we must be humble. We must recognize just how small we are in comparison to God, and we must not arrogantly elevate ourselves over others in our minds. The lowly esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 1:1-4). The lowly fully submit to God and His will (Matthew 7:21-22). The lowly are those who are willing to lovingly serve others (1 John 4:7-11). If one is not lowly, he or she is not walking worthy of the calling.
To walk worthy of the calling we need to be gentle (Ephesians 4:1-2). Pushy, rude, arrogant men and women in the church who bully or connive to get their way are not gentle. Such individuals are not walking worthy of the calling. We need to show a gentleness toward our brothers and sisters in Christ that is befitting of Christian love. Gentle Christians will not yell and scream at one another when there is a disagreement. Rather they will talk kindly to one another as they seek to sort out their differences. We must be gentle in the way we serve one another, the way we talk to one another, and the way we encourage each other.
Longsuffering is also a characteristic associated with walking worthy of the calling (Ephesians 4:1-2). The more we have the qualities of lowliness and gentleness the easier it will be to show the quality of longsuffering. Suffering long with our brethren may mean helping them over long periods of time with the trials of life such as sickness, injury, and pain. Longsuffering with our brethren may involve working with our brethren spiritually and in such a way as to keep them encouraged. Longsuffering will include patience and will mature us to the point of not being so easily offended.
Even as we are lowly, gentle, and longsuffering we will also bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:1-2). Love undergirds all of these qualities. Our love for one another is based upon God's love for us and for our fellow Christians (1 John 4:7-11). We love God because He first loved us, and we love our brothers and sisters because of the evidence of God's love for them. When we love one another the beautiful qualities of 1 Corinthians thirteen will be evident in all of our interactions.
To walk worthy of the calling we need to be lowly, gentle, longsuffering, and loving. When we are lowly, gentle, longsuffering, and loving we will treasure the unity we have with one another. In fact, we will treasure this unity so much we will endeavor to keep they unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). The word "endeavor" indicates effort. It takes work and deliberate effort in molding our own characters in such a way as to encourage unity. We must endeavor to encourage unity in others through our loving service, dedication, and edification toward them. This beautiful unity we treasure is held together by the bond of peace. In heaven, there is peace. Peace is beautiful. Peace is what we want to have in the church with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
When all of these qualities are seen in the way we develop our relationships with other Christians we will see wonderful things happening in the church such as: Christians speaking the truth to one another in love, and every Christian doing his/her part to help the body to be joined together and to grow. We will also see Christians edifying one another in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Unity, love, and peace. Beautiful words. Wonderful qualities. Let them be seen in you. Let them be seen in church family.
- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/