2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul considered himself a servant of Christ. He felt that in light of what God has done for Him, he had no option. He urges us to do the same. When he “urges” us in verse one, I believe that he is calling us to walk along side of him.
I also believe that Paul, although using language that sounds like it is a legalistic list of behaviors, is really just showing us what it looks like to walk in Christ.
Consider this, when you buy the latest techno gadget, you can approach your possession in many ways. Some will buy an i-phone just to say they own one. They will get it and then just use it for phone calls. Others will take it out of the box and use it for calls, and play with it as they have time, getting more out of their purchase, but still not realizing its full potential. Still others with take it out of the box along with the owner’s manual. They will play some and read some as they have time and are able to understand. Still others will take it out of the box, read the owner’s manual, and maybe take a class or get some advice from others with more experience. These will most likely get the most out of their phone.
Paul is the ultimate expert. The guru of what it means to walk in Christ. In these verses he is painting a picture of what it looks like to get the most out of life as a follower of Jesus. What does it really look like walk in a manner worthy of Christ? Humble, with a deep sense of our own lowliness. How can we look at others and love them unless we first see His love for us, a love that came undeserved. Humility sees that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. As I keep my eyes focused on the cross, how can I see anything else? Gentleness. I think of handling a baby here. We all understand the need to be gentle, yet we also understand the need to hold firmly. I don’t think gentleness means timidly, but rather a manner that is under control, not done in anger or spite, but as one who walks along side of Christ. In patience. Not wanting things done on our own timeframe, but waiting on God’s timing. Not expecting that all are at our level of maturity, but letting grace flow through us that others can grow as we have grown. Bearing with one another, because in spite of best intentions, we are still human and wrestle with the flesh.
And last, he talks about our unity in the Spirit. Not just our unity, but our unity in the Spirit. Without the Spirit, we are no different than a country club, Rotary club or any other “helpful” organization. But it is the Spirit that counsels us and leads us to all truth.
Want to get the most out of your relationship with Christ? Then you have to make Him more than a show-piece to get the attention of others. You have to do more than just make Him a play thing that you learn about as it is convenient. You have to take Him to heart, learn from Him and His word. I that asking too much? I guess maybe that depends on what you expect when you take Him out of the box.