The Generosity of Christ
July 23, 2015 |
“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. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Ephesians 4:1-3, 7
I am a mess.
When I read this section of the letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus it serves as a mirrored reflection to me of how far I still have to grow as a maturing disciple of Jesus Christ. Now, if you asked my wife she would give you a different story. She would tell you how much the Spirit of God has grown and shaped me over the last ten years of our marriage in these areas to produce the Godly fruit of humility, gentleness, and patience. You see, my wife is an encourager and she is very generous with her words.
When you read this section of the Bible, what does it stir in your heart and mind? How are you doing in your walk of spiritual maturation? Are you walking or standing? The Apostle Paul was a man in motion. I doubt that he ever sat still for very long. And here he calls the people of God who make up the church of Ephesus to walk; to move forward not aimlessly but with a purposeful trajectory. Walk in a manner worthy of your calling. We, as Christians who have professed our faith and hope in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, are to walk with an intentional purpose as we have been called out of a trajectory of death and placed on a new path, a trajectory towards life, life eternal.
But what does this path look like?
How will I know if I am staying on the right path and not drifting off? Paul tells us. The path of God has the road signs of humility, gentleness, and patience. As we walk according to his path we grow and produce the fruit of these characters in our lives. These internal spiritual fruit shape our external actions as we bear with one another and maintain unity and peace with the people who share the calling of Christ.
Paul serves as an example of this. He lived out his calling, both in actions and in words. He was not perfect and he even failed in this at times (Acts 15:36-41), yet he allowed the Spirit of God to prune and mature him in order that he might walk forward in his spiritual maturity. In fact, Paul lived and preached the gospel of Jesus even when it put him in chains as a prisoner.
Now, before you start looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to Paul, as I so often do and come away seeing how much of a mess I am, we need to reflect a little closer on Paul’s words. In verse seven he uses the big “B” word—“But.” But remember, Paul tells us, to walk with grace. Give grace to each other as you walk in this worthy manner. God is not expecting you to walk in perfection tomorrow, nor the next day or even the day after. We are going to fail and stumble. So give yourself and each other grace.
How much grace?
As much as the measure of Christ’s gift. What gift? The gift of salvation, redemption, and reconciliation. The gift of Christ was his whole life, his sacrificial death, his triumphant resurrection, and his glorious ascension. The overwhelming, unmeasurable, sacrificial generosity of Christ is to be the well of grace that you draw from for yourself and for the people who have professed faith and hope in Jesus Christ around you. When you draw from that well, you will walk in a manner worthy of your calling. You will bear with one another in all circumstances. You will maintain unity and peace because you will die to yourself and to your wants and comforts as you walk with your brothers and sisters in Christ forward on the path of spiritual discipleship.
I am a mess. And I need to drink from the well of grace that Christ so generously gave. I also need people around me, like my wife, who so generously remind me of this infinite well of grace.
Are you drinking from the well of grace today as you walk forward in your Christian calling? Are you being generous towards the people of God around you with the overwhelming generosity of Christ’s grace?
The free resource, Start With Generosity, has been a great source of encouragement for others hoping to learn more about how God approaches generosity. These real-life stories are written by people just like you, and it’s incredible to see how God uses them to display His heart for generosity. Download it today.