An old man was having a down day. His friend saw the signs and asked what the problem was, to which the old man simply said, “Life.” Pushing him a little, the friend said, “What’s the problem with life?” The old man looked at his friend with frustration and responded: “It’s so daily.”
When Paul challenged the Ephesians to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1), he was begging them to make the actions of their Christian life a daily habit, not a once-a-week experience. Living the Christian life was to be like walking—normal, regular and practical—something you do every day.
So, what does it require for one to “walk worthy” of his or her calling as a Christian? What actions should you do, in your daily walk with the Lord? The first answer may be surprising: It is to be considerate of other people!
If you are a believer in Christ, a follower of Jesus, serious about your reputation as a Christian, you must be considerate of everyone around you. A considerate person is one who is polite and cares for others. To be considerate means to think of others first—consider them—their rights and feelings—then treat them decently and with respect.
When we are considerate of another, it makes that person feel loved and respected. Most people value honesty and respect. This is the reason Paul commanded to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Speaking truth should always be done in an atmosphere of love. Knowing you are loved enables you to deal with difficult truth.
For the Christian to walk worthy of his calling, he must be considerate. So, how can you “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called”?
1st A Considerate Person is Humble—“walk…with all humility”
In the Greek culture of Paul’s day, humility was seen as a weakness. In his day, only slaves were humble. If others showed humility it was a drawback, a character flaw. Even in our culture today, humility is devalued and discouraged. Most are taught to: “Get your fair share!”and “Stand up for your rights!”
But in God’s plans for man—Humility is a virtue to be lived out in His people.
Humility is an asset because Christ’s life is our pattern. Christians are commanded to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). We are to “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (verse 5). See, our example, “made Himself of no reputation and took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (verse 7). Jesus, the Lord of all, became the servant of all—and we are to emulate Him.
2nd A Considerate Person is Gentle—“and gentleness”
This word is translated “meekness” in the King James Version. Meekness should never be thought of as weakness. It requires a truly strong person to be gentle when a temper tantrum would be easier. Gentleness is the opposite of self-assertiveness, rudeness and harshness. The word “meekness” or “gentleness” describes the reaction of a person whose emotions are under control, not flying off the handle.
Jesus described himself as being “meek and lowly in heart” or “gentle and humble” (Matt. 11:29), yet was so angry at the abuse in His Father’s house, “He made a scourge of cords and drove them all out of the temple” (John 2:15). Gentleness is having power under control—yet being angry at the things that anger God.
3rd A Considerate Person is Patient—“with patience”
Considerate people are patient with others. The KJV says “with longsuffering” indicating the patient person is one who suffers long, patiently putting up with people, for the Lord’s sake. Warren Wiersbe said to be “longsuffering means to have been long-bothered.”
Patience is in short supply in our society today. We want what we want right now, or sooner, without any delay. Simple delays may result in outbursts of anger with tempers flaring. But the Christian must be patient as he or she shows consideration for others. Most of us need schooling in patience.
4th A Considerate Person is Tolerant—“showing tolerance for one another”
When you “tolerate” something, it means you put up with a thing that displeases you. The KJV renders this “forbearing one another” – that is making allowance for another’s faults. A tolerant person shows consideration by putting up with the shortcomings of others.
Tolerance is needed in every marriage, home, church and job. Without tolerance, no marriage will last, no family succeed, no church could grow, no job be held. Forbearance—putting up with one another—is essential in every sphere.
This word for showing tolerance is only used in one other place in the New Testament. There it is coupled with the thing that makes forbearance possible: forgiveness. Paul writes that if we live for Christ, it will be by “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Col. 3:13).
5th A Considerate Person is Loving—“in love”
Truthfully, in life, we can tolerate, show patience, gentleness and humility toward anyone if we love them. It is for this reason, loving God and loving others, are the top two commandments of God (Mark 12:28-31).
As we love others, it is natural to be humble, gentle, patient and tolerant to them. Love is the key. These qualities of consideration of others were visible in Christ, and need to be lived out in His people daily. These attributes in your life are like beautiful blooms on a rose bush—each reflecting the beauty of Jesus—as you follow His perfect example.