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.
…We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
….Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
… Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
In our lives as Christians, if my life is anything to go by, we will encounter lots of people who believe they have the perfect set of beliefs, the perfect church government and the perfect right to tell us what to do. Much energy will be spent defining status and defending hierarchies instead of living the life. In my experience I have encountered trickery, craftiness and deceitful scheming. A lot of actual church life is very good as it draws us into a community of love, God’s rule.
It is important that we are taught to live from our relationship with God; that we work to know him. We come to know him in doing as he does: loving. God’s essential nature is love. We are to love him and love our neighbours. Our lives are founded on the life and work of Christ; Jesus fills us and nurtures us through prayer and study, humility and gentleness, and community.
We may be painfully aware of our failings but in our loving and serving God and our neighbour we will know redemption. We will pray: forgive us our debts as we forgive the debts of others and find our identity in Christ, bearing with others in patience and love. Our faith will produce good works and we will know ourselves being changed. Our weaknesses will become strengths.