Inspired by Ephesians 4:1-6
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 (NRSV)
Many people identify themselves as Christians. But what does it mean to actually be a Christian?
Paul referred to himself as ‘the prisoner in the Lord.’ Normally we think of ‘prisoner’ as being a negative thing, deprived of one’s freedoms, and a condition to be changed as soon as possible. But Paul was not complaining about his status; he was describing what it is to be a Christian. Being a Christian means giving up your own autonomy and authority, and submitting yourself to the Lord instead.
This is not actually as radical as it sounds at first. For the Lord is not only our Redeemer and our Sustainer, he is also our Creator. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows what gifts we have, because he’s the one who gave them to us. And when we become Christians, prisoners in the Lord, then we are accepting his calling to be the people that God created us to be and use the gifts he gave us to do his work in the world, rather than using them to further our own personal ambitions.
All Christians, regardless of how different from each other, are united by one Spirit, and called to work together as one body. As Christians, we are called to prioritize the importance of that unity above and beyond our own personal gifts and goals.
Perhaps it is pretty radical, after all.
Let us pray. God of unity, you have brought many diverse people together to be your body in the world. Help us to build one another up through humility, gentleness, and patience, that we may proclaim your love to all people. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.