3.17.14 "To Be Mature"

Heavenly Father, thank you for this time we have together.  I thank You for the many blessings you’ve poured into my life, known and unknown, and praise You for the work you’ve begun in me.  Quiet my mind and thoughts, that I can hear only You.  Amen Ephesians 4:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

 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.

I wonder how the early church reacted when hearing these words from Paul, especially knowing that he was writing from prison.  Hearing an imprisoned man beseech his fellow Christians to live a life thankful for freedom, and to behave humbly, gently, patient with each other must have been very convicting.  I’ve had a first row seat over the last few months to witness two brothers and a sister “bearing with one another in love” as their father’s life on this earth ended due to lung cancer.  I have been very thankful to see the patience that Jim has given his dad and his siblings during the weeks of trying to honor James Sr.’s wish to stay at home.  This was only possible through the support and prayers of our extended family, our friends, and our POG family.

I like the Message version of these verses below.  This version adds discipline into the mix, and a reminder to “notice differences”.  To me, that is mature love, noticing when someone needs assistance, and quietly being salt and light, without expecting notoriety or even thanks.  Jesus was all about humble patience, love, and gentleness when the situation called for it.  After giving His life for us (and rising), how can we not “bear with one another in love”?

The Message (MSG)

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

Dear Father, thank you for sending your Son to redeem us, poor sinners, and to give us an example of the humble, patient, gentle kind of lives you want us to lead.  Send us your Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and deeds on this earth.  In your name we pray, Amen.


p.s.  Remember – we Begin with prayer this week! J

Father in Heaven,

I pray that out of Your glorious riches you would strengthen ________ with power through Your Spirit in _______ inner being, so that Christ may dwell in ________ heart through faith.  And I pray that _______, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all Your holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that _______ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Amen.