In this section of his letter, Paul encourages the Ephesians to express the unity of the Spirit. Paul was aware that nothing could prevent his union with Christ. So he begins by referring to himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He has already described himself in this way (3:1), which indicates it was something that he valued. ‘What the world counted ignominy, he counts the highest honour, and he glories in his bonds for Christ, more than a king in his diadem’ (Theodoret). As a Christian leader, Paul knew that he had always to be an example in how he accepted divine providence.
Paul had also lived a devoted life, submissive to Jesus’ demands. In other words he had authenticity. Authenticity is an essential feature of Christian leadership, which only came to Paul because he continued to fulfil what his Lord had required of him.
A third feature revealed in this verse is Paul’s attitude. Although he was an apostle, which gave to him certain rights and privileges, he knew that unity would not be maintained by demanding implicit obedience. Rather he begged, implored, his readers. This attitude revealed his heart was involved. Decisions can be made and required without heart involvement, but pleading cannot. Christian leaders should express humility at all times.
The fourth feature of leadership seen here is Paul’s aspiration for the Ephesians. He had no desire for personal gain, but he was concerned for their personal growth. This aspiration was that they would live according to their calling as children of God, of living as such in the present evil world, as he describes in Philippians 2:14-15: ‘Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.’