(Presented by Lisa Bishop)
Are you living worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus?
In the book of Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul instructs us to be patient, bearing with one another in love. The mark of a true follower of Christ, evidence that we love and follow Jesus, is when we demonstrate generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try our patience.
The idea of bearing with one another is to show tolerance to each other, again and again. The NLT translation says, “be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” The Greek word means to endure or to put up with difficult people or circumstances.
This is an important expression of the love believers in Christ should have for one another, and for others. And yes, even for those we deem hard to love. The reality is, we are all hard to love at times. If we look to our example for love and holy living, Jesus, we see he loved and loves us when we are acting in ways that are “unlovable.”
When was the last time someone tried your patience? Maybe your spouse did something that irritated you. Your children did something that got on your last nerve. Or a neighbor, friend, parent, co-worker or boss tested your tolerance.
How did you respond? Did you respond with grace, and forbearance, dealing with the difficult person or situation without becoming angry? Or did you have a short fuse and say some things you regret?
Our words matter. We should not just say anything that comes out of our mouths. Proverbs 18:21 says, life and death are in the power of the tongue.
When your patience is tested, what comes out? We need to choose our words carefully, which requires the fruit of the Holy Spirit—self-control—which helps us with our tongue control. And it’s not just our words we need to be mindful of, impatience and lack of tolerance show up in silence, facial expressions, body language.
Our thoughts about people will determine how we treat them. It is not possible to be loving toward someone if our thoughts about them are unloving. Ask Jesus to reorder your thoughts and put them in alignment with his.
John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When we demonstrate love and patience it is evidence that we have the Holy Spirit living in us. As we mature in our faith, our patience and love should also be maturing. People will see the way that we love one another, bear with one another, and say, “They must be followers of Jesus!”