Text: …….live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love………, keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Signposts are vital as they give the needed direction at every turning point. This is particularly true in man’s spiritual journey. Signposts are used in order not to miss the road. The Epistle appointed for this Sunday speaks about these signposts of the kingdom of God. The signposts given by the Epistle are: (1) Humility (2) Gentleness (3) Patience (4) forbearance (5) Maintenance of the unity of the Church.
These are part of the character qualities to develop in life that can lead one into the kingdom of God.
- Humility:– Humility which is one of the fruits of the spirit is the quality of being modest and of low view of one’s importance. The Bible dwells much on this character as very important and highly acceptable to God. It is the opposite of pride. As high as God is, he has regards for the humble, but the haughty he knows from a distance (Psalm 138:6). The humble are always exalted by God (Luke 1:52; 1Peter 5:5) .There is everything to be gained by being humble.
- Gentleness:- This is the quality of being kind, tender or mild-mannered. It is the opposite of being hard-hearted. The scripture enjoins us to be kind, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32b). The Holy Spirit can be grieved by one’s evil conduct. It is for this reason that Paul warned against bad language, meanness, improper use of anger and bad attitude towards others ( Ephesians 4:28-32).
- Patience:- This is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. It is Christ-like character that must be cultivated by all who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It is by being patient that we can endure tribulation and run the Christian race set before us (Heb. 12:2).
- Forbearance:- This means tolerance. It is restraining from reacting negatively to hurt inflicted on one. This was the attitude the Lord Jesus Christ displayed towards his persecutors. There is nothing to be gained from being intolerant. Intolerance breeds enmity and leads to discord.
- Unity:- In unity we stand. This is also true of the church. The churches can only successfully carry out its missionary work by being united. It is for this reason that the Lord Jesus Christ in his high priestly prayer prayed for the unity of his disciples (John 17:11c). St. Paul, also emphasized the importance of Christian unity without which not much can be done by way of winning the world for Christ (Ephesians 4:3) The signposts of the kingdom of God are helpful only when used.
Let us therefore follow the signposts of the kingdom of God so as to be its partakers.
Very Revd Dr. Adewale Adebiyi