Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #213)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-3:
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Jonathan Edwards said, “Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: That whether others do or do not, I will.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Are we sorry for grieving the heart of God? Are we sorry for denying God the right to own our personality, to own our mind, to own our thoughts, to own our emotions? If not, we’re robbing God.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In 1781, the faithful prayer warriors in Cornwall, England, chose to begin their Christmas celebration in prayer. They gathered as early as 3:00 A.M. at St. Just Church to sing hymns and pray to God. Then, as one account puts it, “the Lord of the universe stepped in and took over.” The Christmas prayer meeting continued for six hours. Even then, the intercessors ended the meeting only temporarily to be with their families on Christmas Day. Later that evening, they gathered once again at the church, and the revival continued. Cornwall’s Christmas Revival extended into January and February. By March, prayer meetings were continuing until midnight. This awakening by the Holy Spirit was largely a prayer movement.”
From this passage, we are looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have already looked at the traits of lowliness and meekness.
The third trait that Paul names is “longsuffering.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with longsuffering…” Longsuffering means “patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance.” When we see this word in the Bible, the word “longsuffering” is most often used within the context of God’s dealings with human beings. You have experienced the longsuffering of God even though you may not have recognized it at the time. God shows Himself to be long suffering when He does not immediately punish us for our disobedience to Him. Rather, He waits for a while (He suffers long) in hopes that we would correct ourselves. That is what it means to be longsuffering — to let things go, to not get angry, to remain calm for a while, even though things are going wrong, in the hopes that people would correct themselves.
Longsuffering is a godly trait and we are to be imitators of God. For us, long suffering means being patient with others, suffering the wrong they do us without retaliation, and enduring difficult situations without complaint.
John Eadie said a person who is longsuffering “is opposed to irritability, or to what we familiarly name shortness of temper, and is that patient self-possession which enables a man to bear with those who oppose him, or who in any way do him injustice. He can afford to wait till better judgment and feeling on their part prevail. In its high sense of bearing with evil, and postponing the punishment of it, it is ascribed to God.”
There are people and situations that will test us immensely in our Christian walk. When things are not going our way, that is when we ought to walk worthy of our calling by practicing longsuffering.
A man went to his pastor and said, “Pastor, pray that God would help me be more patient.” The pastor said, “I’ll pray for you right now.” He proceeded to ask God, “Lord, please send tribulation into this brother’s life.” The brother said, “Pastor, what are you doing? I asked you to pray that I would develop patience.” The pastor said, “Haven’t you ever read in Romans 5:3 that tribulation worketh patience? I prayed for tribulation because you can only learn patience and longsuffering when you are being tested and when you are suffering.”
It is the same for us. Longsuffering is something that can only be learned by the power of the Holy Spirit in the course of our life in this world.
Bob Gotti wrote:
As believers live for Christ,
He makes changes in our lives,
Convicting us with the Spirit,
using the Word as we hear it.
His Word touches everything,
He teaches us long suffering,
As we daily deal with others —
unbelievers and Christian brothers.