Ephesians 4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
What exactly does that mean? That verse has been resonating in my heart since this summer. That verse, along with John 10:10 (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”), have been “haunting” my thoughts for months now…As I have studied, thought, prayed, and meditated over these words, a few things have stood out…
1. The word Paul uses that is translated “live a life”, is also (more frequently) translated as “walk.” Living this life is a walk (one of Paul’s favorite metaphors). It is a process…a Journey on which we embark as we follow our loving Father.
2. We cannot confuse “worthy” with our own efforts. “Ours is a seeking God who has found us. He acts on our behalf. We are justified by grace through faith, not by our effort or merit” (Dunnam 1982, 196). It is only out of His love that we become “worthy” and can, ourselves, walk in love. “It is a ‘therefore’ walk. Our being and doing as Christians are expressions of what God in Christ has been and done for us” (Dunnam 1982, 196).
3. “Calling” is too often associated only with those who are “called to ministry”. What Paul is referring to as “calling” is the salvation and responsibility of every Christian, not just an exclusive subculture of society. This is the calling for all Christians to live in accordance with what God has done. Often the greatest ministry is done by those who are not “in the ministry”, but in the real world that exists outside a “ministry” context.
Jesus’ words and Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus are inextricably linked. “Life to the full”, the life that Christ came so that we might have, is exactly to what Paul was referring. In Christ, we find our calling. Apart from Christ, we can never know our created purpose and, therefore, can never live up to that calling.
Christ came to set us free to know our created purpose and to be able to “live a life worthy” of that created purpose…Christ is the key.
I can’t claim I’ve figured it all out. I am a work in progress. In the same way that doctors, after years of schooling, internships, residencies, boards, etc., “practice” medicine, each and every day I “practice” living a life worthy of the calling I have received. In other words, I practice walking, by grace through faith in Christ, to serve those He has called me to serve in His name.
It truly is a journey.
Blessings on you all as you walk with those you serve!(Dunnam. “The Communicator’s Commentary.” Ephesians, Edited by Lloyd Ogilvie, 196. Waco: Word Books, 1982.)