We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In this post, we’re starting chapter 4.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:1-2 NIV
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about what it means to be a prisoner of Christ. At that time I dealt with living worthy of that calling. Now I want to take it a step further and let Paul explain what that worthy life looks like.
What we’ll find out is that all the words Paul uses to describe this life deal with our treatment of others. In Ephesians, the Holy Spirit is beginning to show us how we are to live and function as the body of Christ on earth.
First, we come to the word, humble. This is not the normal word used for humility. Actually, this is the first place in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit used this word. It’s a compound word that’s full of meaning in the Greek language.
This word means to have a humble view of yourself. But it also means that you realize just how small you really are. In Scripture, we find that this word is either a good thing or bad, depending on the context.
In some places it talks about people who use this mindset to put on a show. They want to appear humble in order to get people to follow them. That’s not what Paul is talking about in this verse.
True humbleness of mind is one of the foundations for life in the kingdom of God. It’s being able to see yourself as part of the whole. It’s not all about me. I’m simply one cell in the body. We all need each other.
According to the Scripture, this isn’t something that just comes naturally. Paul talks about it in Colossians.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 NIV
This humility of mind needs to be put on like a garment. It covers over any other feelings we may be struggling with. This tells me that it’s a choice that we make in dealing with others. In the same way that I choose to love, I must also choose to see myself as simply one part of an organism.
The Apostle Peter talks about this as well.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5b NIV
Again, Peter refers to this kind of humility as something that you need to put on as a choice. However, he uses a different word for this process. The word, clothe, in this verse, literally means to put on your work clothes.
This speaks of the purpose of humble mindedness. We have a work to do. None of us can accomplish our calling all by ourselves. It has to be done in cooperation with one another. In order for that to happen, I need the correct mindset.
The ability to see and accept that I’m a part of a body of believers is essential to fulfilling God’s call. We’re not alone in this endeavor. God has called us to work together. This is life in the body of Christ.
Peter goes so far as to say that receiving God’s grace depends on it. Yes, I received God’s grace for my salvation, but that’s not the end of it. I continually need the Lord’s grace to fulfill what He’s asked me to do for Him. I have to put on my “work clothes” of humility before I can pick up the “tools” of grace that I need.
Never see yourself as a “lone ranger” in service to Christ. We’re in this together. There’s power in our unity. In my next post, I’ll talk about the other words Paul uses in the above verse from Ephesians.
Question: How do you cultivate this humble mindset?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi