“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1
I’ve been listening to a series of lessons by Andy Cantrell on the letter to the Ephesians. I’ve provided the link below if you’d like to take a listen. Among other things, Andy did a tremendous job in identifying and simplifying the structure of the letter. I believe that if you can get an overall picture of a book it allows you to understand, and apply, the more specific instruction in a powerful way.
Andy looked at chapter four verse one as the pivot point in the letter. Paul implores the Christians to “walk…worthy of the calling.” Chapters one through three describes the “calling” and chapters four through six describe the walk.
When you think about the “calling” of the Christian, what do you think of? Do you think of our behavior, our language, our attitude? Do you think of being kind and generous and loving? Maybe you think of the things we are not to do, avoiding sinful behavior. That is how I used to think but in reality I was thinking of the walk. Paul implores us to walk worthy of the calling, meaning the walk and the calling are two different things. The calling is the “why” behind our walk. In other words, our behavior, our language, our attitudes, avoiding sin is because we have been called.
So how does Paul describe our calling? Well, we’d have to discuss all the amazing things in Ephesians chapters one through three and we don’t have time for that in this short article. I’d like us to consider one of the recurring themes or phrases from the first three chapters.
“to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” 1:6
“to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” 1:12
“who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” 1:14
In addition, notice how often God’s glory is referenced.
“the Father of glory” 1:17
“according to the riches of His glory” 3:16
“to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” 3:21
One of the essential attributes of our calling is God’s glory. The Greek word for glory (doksa) literally means “what evokes good opinion, i.e. that something has inherent, intrinsic worth.” The mercy and grace and kindness and love that God has lavished upon us should result in praising God’s glory. The planning and execution of our redemption should result in praising God’s glory. Our entire purpose is to generate praise of His glory.
So why do I walk a certain way? Why is my behavior and language and attitude different than the world around me? Why are my relationships with my wife and kids and co-workers and neighbors different? Why should I try to live up to a certain standard, trying to understand what pleases God? Because I’ve been called to bring praise to the glory of God.
This understanding of my purpose, of my calling changes things. All that I do in my walk is not about me. It is not about being better than those around me. It is not about avoiding eternal punishment or securing my place in heaven. My walk is about God’s glory and when I conduct myself in a worthy manner I will help generate praise to God.
As we get up and get ready to go out and face the world this morning, let us consider what our walk says about our Father in heaven. Do our lives praise the glory of God?