At our dinner table, sometimes I ask my kids (ages 2, 4, and 6), “What was the hardest thing you did today?” Often one of them will respond, “Waiting!” It’s true. In our instant- gratification world, waiting is not easy, even for adults. In addition to being patient for our meal, internet speed, or an overnight package, Paul urges us to be patient with one another.
Paul urges the Ephesians to live worthy of their calling (v. 1). The first thing on his list focuses on patience in how they treat one another. Living in unity with one another is not simply a part of the Christian life, it is the whole thing. But unity is not easy. Paul says it takes patience to be humble and gentle. The word lowliness could also be used for humble, meaning a desire to put others above ourselves. In Philippians 2:1–10, Paul calls for believers to have the same humble attitude as Christ Jesus did when He emptied himself and came to earth. In
In addition to being humble and gentle, we are to “bear with one another in love” (v. 2). Since we are all sinners with varying personalities and backgrounds, there may be people in the body who will challenge our patience. However, that does not excuse us from interacting with them in a way that honors God. We are told to bear with each other and tolerate others’ preferences and styles. Paul challenges his readers to seek unity through peace (v. 3). The enemy would love to divide the body of Christ, but Paul reminds us that just as God the Father, Son, and Spirit are one, the body of Christ can be one (vv. 4–6). However, it takes patience.
>> Do you struggle with impatience? If you are experiencing a time of waiting in your life, we recommend Today in the Word author, Brad Baurain’s book On Waiting Well.
It is easy to be patient with those we like. For others, extending patience seems impossible. Without Your influence, Father, we could never hope to succeed. Give us Christ-like patience!