I was just reading this verse to my boys, it's our memory verse for this week:
Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for
each other's faults because of your love. - Ephesians 4:2 NLT
After singing it with them and trying to remember it I opened up my NKJV Bible to check and see if I'd remembered it correctly. The version reads differently (I didn't find out if I had remembered it correctly) so I started with verse 1 and read through verse 3 just to get the full gist of what was being said.
This stood out like neon, "...walk worthy of the calling with which you were called..." (verse 1).
Worthy of the calling?
Now, I read worthy and I automatically think, "I'm out! Not me. I'm definantly not worthy, so how in the world am I to fulfill this verse?"
Then as I read on I was struck again, "...with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love..."
THAT is walking worthy.
In my tendency to be a modern Pharisee, I think of walking worthy as not sinning. You know, not cussing, or being involved in something immoral, or hanging out with "worldly" people, or an ongoing list of various, "do's" and "don'ts". But that's not what the Spirit says at all!
Walking worthy of the calling with which we were called is
being humble and gentle and patient, making allowances for
faults done against us by others because of love.
I can't walk worthy in the sense of doing all the things I think are godly and not doing any of the things I think aren't godly...because in me is a heart prone to wander, a heart already defiled! I'd just be fixing up the outside if I were to live that way and the inside would be rotten!
But I can humble myself. I can say, "I'm a sinner in desperate need of the mercy of God!" I can be like that man Jesus said went home justified that day when He told us this story:
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they
were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Luke 18:9-14
If I have a proper perspective of myself, as a sinner dependent upon God's mercy, not upon my own ability to do "right" in the sight of men, then, from that place of humility, I will tend to be more gentle with others...even those who require looooooongsuffering and much allowance for the faults they tend to walk in which offend me.
Walking worthy means knowing my worth is not in my performance but in God's mercy as shown me in Jesus at the cross. It means knowing that I am not deserving of God's love, but embracing it with thanksgiving!
Walking worthy is not an absence of doing wrong, nor the presence of doing what people think is right. It is the embracing of Christ! And in laying hold of the lavish gift of mercy and grace which defines my worth in Him I will be kept walking in humility, patience, gentleness and in extending that same mercy to others. I will not need to define my worth by what I do and don't do, rather, I will be consumed by He Who loves me, and who He's made me by His sacrifice!
Oh Father, I tend to be a Pharisee, but when I see the, "...with which" I was called- Jesus' blood shed for me- I realize how wretched I am and much You've made me worth! Help me to walk in the humility that demonstrates the worth of my life!