Paul’s Five Attitudes
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 (ESV)
Believers have found the incredible joy that comes from a new relationship that they experience through Christ. This relationship has many blessings that come along with the relationship and we testify to it often. I am thankful that God has granted me access to a relationship that has provided so much in my life.
The spiritual blessings alone are worth the journey of serving the Lord. The gifts of assurance, joy, peace, comfort, and wisdom along with his presence and power are more than generous. These are offered to everyone who puts their faith and trust in him.
However, with the generous spiritual blessings that God gives to those who wholeheartedly serve him, we are given expectations of how we are to live in this world. Consequently, many of those expectations are in relation to how we see ourselves in Christ and how we live that out in front of others.
The Bible tells us that God expects us to act like the new person that he created us to be through Jesus. His expectation is that we adopt his standard of living as our own. That his purposes, desires, and nature becomes ours.
Christianity is the lifelong process of becoming who God created us to be.
This life-long journey is a constant journey of openness to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and responding in obedience. I find that the Holy Spirit is more active in checking my heart than anything else in my life. Why? Because God is more concerned with my heart due to the eternal implications.
In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us as a church to allow the Holy Spirit to assist us in developing the right attitudes in our relationship with him and others. It is Paul’s desire for the church to keep in mind that God has expectations of how we are to relate to one another. We are to continually practice these as His church and be open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit if we fail to do so.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)
5 Attitudes of Healthy Believers
Healthy Believers Practice Humility
The practice of humility is the foundation for all other attitudes that Paul gives in these few verses. It carries the idea of thinking or judging with lowliness. Humility is understanding who we are in light of our Savior, Jesus.
Scripture teaches us his example of humility when it says that Jesus: emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:7–8 (ESV)
The greatest of all, Jesus, took the form of a servant to his heavenly Father and to all of mankind. He gave his life by submitting to a human crucifixion, in order to bring salvation to a world that had rejected him. He was the greatest example of humility because he did what he didn’t have to do in order to bring the gift of salvation to all!
How to practice humility:
- Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the attitudes of your heart.
- Study the life of Christ and commit to following his example toward others.
- Study the heart of God through regular Bible reading and prayer for application.
Healthy Believers Practice Gentleness
The word translated gentleness does not denote weakness, timidity, indifference, or being cowardly. Instead, it refers to someone who is mild-spirited and self-controlled. It is the opposite of being vindictive or exacting vengeance on someone from a heart of anger or pride.
Those who walk in humility understand who they are in Christ and the value that He places on the lives of people around them. Additionally, there is an understanding that God has and is doing a work that we often don’t see in the lives of others. So when we allow the Holy Spirit to develop gentleness in our hearts, it is with the understanding of the value that God places in others.
It is in God’s heart that we see people through his eyes and emulate the same gentleness that he has shown us. Jesus said: …learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 (ESV)
How to practice gentleness:
- Place value on people and honor what God may be doing through you to minister to them.
- Be open to allowing the Holy Spirit to help you develop the fruit of gentleness.
- Practice self-control when you feel emotional responses such as anger rising up.
- Be compassionate to the least, last, and lost. Those who realize where they have come from or what could have been in their lives, tend to give more grace.
Healthy Believers Practice Patience
You have probably heard the saying to “never pray for patience because God will give you people that will test yours!”
The word translated as patience is defined as being long-tempered or longsuffering. It describes a person who endures the negative and difficult circumstances, never allowing these situations to control their heart.
Believers must understand that God has a plan for everything that happens in our lives and we have a choice in how we respond. We can respond by questioning God’s authority, protection, attention, and plan or we can go to God trusting that He has a purpose. We can respond by grumbling, complaining, and railing against God (and others), or we can make our requests to God and be patient with the answer.
Remember, that Jesus left his heavenly home where love, holiness, and glory resides, came to earth where he was hated, rejected, and crucified without complaint or returning evil for evil. He endured all things that the world threw at him knowing it was God’s will in light of an eternal purpose.
How to practice patience:
- Trust God with the circumstances and relationships that you have in your life.
- Practice listening to the heart of God and to the people that you are in a relationship with.
- Do not rush a response to the circumstances without spending time in the presence of God.
Healthy Believers Practice Love
Scripture has a lot to say about the attitude of love that believers exhibit in their lives. It is exemplified in the heart of God the father and through Jesus. We are grateful that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus who gave his life for ours, taking our punishment for sin on a cross.
This is the type of love that the Father expects each of us to show to others around us. Peter said: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV) Literally, love throws a blanket of forgiveness over the sins of others. Notice he doesn’t justify sin or excuse it, but it keeps their sins from becoming any more known than is absolutely necessary.
Therefore, this love that Paul speaks of is agape love because this type of love is not based on circumstances or hurts, but gives continuously and unconditionally. This love looks beyond the offense to see the person through the grace and mercy of God.
How to practice love:
- Show love to others regardless of whether or not it is returned.
- Ask God to remind you of the depth of His love that He has placed in your heart.
- Remind yourself of the love that Christ had when he gave his life for a world that rejected him.
Healthy Believers Practice Unity
Preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace must be the diligent concern of every believer. What Paul is describing is not unity within an organization. He is describing a unity through the spirit which should be true of every believer. We are bound to one another through the Spirit.
Unity is not an attitude that can be mandated from an external source. It is internal, through the attitudes of humility, gentleness, patience, and love. The Holy Spirit working in the hearts and lives of believers should create unity.
Paul said to the Corinthian believers: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV) Paul goes on to say: If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:19–20 (ESV) We are one in the body through the Spirit of God working in us!
How to practice unity:
- Strive to live in love and peace with fellow believers.
- Stay in tune with the Holy Spirit who will reveal our shared purpose, heart, and mission.
- Allow humility, gentleness, patience, and love to govern the relationships you have with other believers.
Guarding our hearts against pride by living in humility produces gentleness. Gentleness produces patience. Patience produces love. These four preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. They provide a powerful testimony to the world around us that God is the source of right attitudes in relationships.
In comparison to the world around us, the church must be the example of God’s life-changing power in our lives. There is no greater witness which opens the door for the gospel than our willingness to live out these attitudes.
May God challenge us to live out these attitudes in our lives.
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