As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, He has stretched me to view my relationships with His eyes. The amazing thing is that I assumed that viewing things with His eyes meant that I would understand the other person better so I could be more patient with them. That is partially correct; however, the greater vision He has given me is where my thoughts do not match His. You see, I could be completely right in a situation; however, Christ isn't worried about me being right. He is more concerned with my pride that wants to be right and my need to get what I deserve. When my Christ vision is turned on, I find myself correcting my thoughts to match His so that I approach the situation with humility. When my thoughts are turned back to Christ, I am more focused on what pleases Him rather than what pleases me. Some days, it feels like a battle in my mind! Please turn to Ephesians 4:2-3.
In verse 1, Paul begged believers to live a life worthy of their calling. Ephesians 4:2-3 seems to give us what it means to live a life worthy of the invitation to salvation. The first thing that Paul puts on this list is to be humble. I have to say that this goes completely against our human nature! I also want to make a note that humility is not self-hatred or self-degradation. Humility is remembering that our invitation to salvation was given to us out of grace not out of anything we have done. When we remember our undeserved grace, it has a way of turning our thoughts off of ourselves. Christ didn't die because He deserved to die - He died for us out of love and humility. The other thing we are told is to be gentle. There is no reason to be harsh with someone. Just because harshness startles or scares people doesn't mean that harsh words make people listen better. Paul takes it even further by telling us that we should be making allowances for each other's faults. After all, we all have our idiosyncrasies and we are all human with all the faults that comes with the package.
We are told that we are to make every effort to stay united in the Spirit. Remember, one of the themes of this book is how we are united into one church and one body. This is a unity that can only come through Christ and He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower us. It is in working with the Holy Spirit in our lives that we can stay united. We are told to be bound in peace. The phrase "binding together" is from the Greek word syndesmos. This word is awesome in relation to the book of Ephesians because it means to bind something together but it is also used when talking of the bond "of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together," (see footnote 1). Peace works in the body of Christ in the same way that the ligaments work in the human body. Peace binds all of the different parts and personalities in the body of Christ and allows for movement so the church can "do the good things that God planned long ago," (Ephesians 2:10).
Are you making allowances for other members in the body of Christ?