“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1–6 (NIV)
Have you ever badly desired to live up to something? Maybe you have a family legacy to uphold. Maybe you stepped into the role of someone who moved on and you have big shoes to fill. Or maybe you simply have extremely high expectations for yourself. Whatever the case, we often walk around with a desire to live a life that’s worthy of something or someone.
In today’s passage, Paul is exhorting those who are bound to God by the gospel, to “live a life worthy of the calling.” Now, I want to point out the calling we’re talking about isn’t referring to a pastoral calling or work career. Joseph Barnes explained it this way: “This word properly means ‘an invitation’—as to a banquet. Hence, it means that divine invitation by which Christians are introduced into the privileges of the gospel.” It’s meant as a general gospel calling of the faithful to holy living.
Paul gives us some qualities to look for:
· Having a spirit of unity
Essentially, we live worthy of our gospel call by living undivided with one another. A worthy life is lived in reflection of Christ, in alignment with God’s will, and in harmony with other believers to whom we’ve been bound as members of one body, by one Spirit, sharing one hope, under one great and glorious God who has bound us together in love by grace.
You may be thinking, Danny, there’s no way I can live up to this call. And you’re not wrong! The call is to live and be holy like Jesus; to serve and love like Jesus. I can’t live up to that, and neither can you . . . at least not on our own. But we’re not on our own, and that’s the beautiful thing about Christianity!
If you notice in verse 1, Paul said, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then.” Then, like therefore, means he’s building off his previous point in Ephesians 3:17-21 (NIV): “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more . . .”
Friends, we have Christ in us who sanctifies us and conforms us to His image, who molds us to live out our calling and walk in love and good works. And we have one another, men and women who set examples for us, disciple us, mentor us, and help us grow to be more like Jesus Christ, His body, and each of us as individuals, yet undivided!
PAUSE: What does it mean to live worthy of our calling?
PRACTICE: Write a list of friends and mentors, believers who have influenced your faith and helped you learn to live more like Jesus. Reach out to them and share your appreciation.
PRAY: Father, I pray Your Spirit would help me to live worthy of the name of Jesus, to align my heart to His, to be daily conformed more and more into His image. Lord, just a little each day, make me more like Your Son. Amen.