Today’s reading is Ephesians 4.
God’s love is a key theme in this book of Ephesians:
- God predestined us in love (1:3b-4a).
- God made us alive in Christ because of his great love for us (2:4-5).
- God wants us to be rooted and established in his love (3:17)
- God wants us to know his love, even though it surpasses knowledge (3:19).
Here in Ephesians 4, these truths about God’s love were applied. In verse 1 Paul urged believers “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” That “calling” is the calling to know and love God, to receive the gift of salvation by grace in Christ as we see in Ephesians 1:18b-19: “the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Having described that calling in Ephesians 1-3, Paul now urged the believers in 4:1 to “live a life worthy of the calling....” How do you do that? The rest of chapter 4 lays it out:
- “be humble and gentle” (v. 2a).
- “be patient, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2b).
- “keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (v. 3)
- Grow in spiritual maturity through the gift of the church and its leaders (vv. 7-16).
- Put off the old self (vv. 17-22) and put on the new self (vv. 23-32).
I noted at the beginning of today’s devotional that “God’s love is a key theme” in Ephesians and I reviewed the key passages that mention God’s love. Look now in today’s chapter at all the ways “love” is intertwined with living “a life worthy of the calling” :
- v. 2: “bearing with one another in love
- v. 14: “speaking the truth ”in love”
- v. 16: “the whole body...”builds itself up in love”
A big part of “living up to the calling” is living a life of love. Just as God loved us and called us to faith, now we live out that faith by loving one another in the church. We bear with each other, speak the truth, and build each other in the body up “in love.”
In our church, who do you find it hard to put up with (v. 2)? (Don’t leave the name in the comments, please!) Living according to God’s loving call in your life means putting up with that person.
In our church, who do you need to speak truth to “in love” (v. 14)? Taking on that difficult conversation in a loving way, speaking the truth for that person’s good rather than avoiding the real issues is how you live according to the loving call God extended to us.
In our church, who do you need to “build up in love”? Who is hurting? Who is missing our worship gatherings? Who needs to learn some life or ministry skills that you could teach them? Building them up in love is how we live according to God’s gracious, loving call in our lives. Just as God loved us when we were unlovely, we should bear with the unlovely “in love.” Just as God spoke truth to us through the gospel, we should speak the truth “in love” to others around us. Just as God is building godliness in us (v. 24b), we should build up each other in godliness because we love God and his people.
These are some of the loving ways we can live a life worthy of who God--in love--has called us to be in Christ.