We have expectations of people based upon their status or position in life. We expect teachers to be patient and good communicators and drill sergeants to be loud and demanding. We expect police officers to carry guns, two year olds to throw tantrums and pizza delivery guys to bring us warm pizza.
Today I want to talk to you about four expectations of Christians. These four are from the passage we discussed in yesterday’s post about our calling as Christians from Ephesians 4:1-2.
I therefore, 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.
The “therefore” at the beginning of verse 1 refers to everything Paul wrote in the first three chapters of Ephesians about our salvation in Jesus. We can paraphrase verse one by saying “based upon God’s gracious salvation in Christ, we should walk or order our lives in a way that is worthy of being called to salvation.” He had previously (Ephesians 2:1-2) talked about the ungodly way we walked before we trusted in Christ. What comes next is a major contrast. In the next verse Paul gives us four specific expectations that pertain to our relationships.
4 Relational Expectations of all Christians
- Humility was often used as a derogatory term in ancient Greek literature expressing the weakness of the lowly. Jesus changed that by saying he was “meek and lowly in heart” Matthew 11:29. The ultimate demonstration of humility was His death on a cross Philippians 2:6-11. His actions are our model. We are to esteem others as better than ourselves and be concerned about their welfare even if it means it affects our welfare.
- Gentleness is to be meek as Jesus said He was in Matthew 11:29. It is to have a mild emotional response to people and circumstances. For example, we are to be gentle in restoring another Christian who has sinned Galatians 6:1-2 and in dealing with conflict 2 Timothy 2:25. Meekness is not weakness but a willingness to consider another’s well-being as more important than our emotional response.
- Patience is to be long-suffering, to forbear or put up with other’s shortcomings. It is the ability to endure a wrong rather than fly off the handle and get angry or seek vengeance. There are many applications for patience in our lives. We are told patience is needed when dealing with the idle, fainthearted and the weak 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
- Loving forbearance is the mutual expression of patience between two people. This kind of behavior isn’t natural and can only flow out of a heart of love Ephesians 4:32.
When we live these four traits out in our lives we demonstrate a lifestyle that’s consistent with our divine calling. This is what God expects of us. It isn’t what the world expects. When we live this way it reflects well on God. That’s a good thing!
What other expectations are there in the Bible for Christians? Please leave a comment or question below.