I have seen it in families, schools, communities, and in churches—the desire to get and keep hold of some sort of preeminence, authority, or power. Sometimes it is over money. Sometimes it’s over friends and acquaintances and relationships. Sometimes the squabbles become bitterly protracted authority struggles. It isn’t pretty. People seem to be given to just the opposite! “Me first!” is the demand often heard on the playground. “I want it my way!” is a demand often made by children and adults.

Walking with all humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace—how unlike what we so often see and too often demonstrate! St. Paul’s admonition to the church in Ephesus was: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Paul’s exhortation (word of encouragement and instruction) to his readers was to be imitators of Christ, walking in a manner worthy of Him who suffered and died for sinners. Our example is Christ Jesus, Himself. He who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them gave up His heavenly home and became a lowly man in order to serve and save a rebellious and sinful race. Jesus suffered what we could only describe as poverty, was arrested on false charges made against Him by His enemies, died a horrible death on an instrument of extreme cruelty, and was laid to rest in a borrowed grace. Jesus did not, however, stay dead! On that third day (Easter morning) Jesus became alive again and rose victorious over sin, death, and the grave.

Saint Paul, himself, became a prisoner because he served and obeyed this Jesus. His encouragement to his readers was to be like Christ in life—not acting in selfishness, pride, greed, hatred or distrust. Rather, they were encouraged to offer themselves for the good of others, and entrusting themselves to the God who made them and redeemed them!

This is his message for us, too! “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

We pray: Lord Jesus, thank you for offering yourself for us and our salvation! Strengthen us and help us to be more like you in our words and our actions. In your name we pray. Amen.