Paul, after expounding the depths of the Christian’s IDENTITY in Christ and the INTIMACY that ensues upon entering into the truth of who we are in Christ, admonishes the Ephesian church to INDUSTRY.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Eph. 4:1–3 ESV
The message of our book, Desperate Dependency, emphasizes that Jesus makes a difference in your life and this difference is embraced through “finding Christ relevant to every area of your life.” Paul focuses on the three issues that bring Christ’s relevance to fruition within the Christian’s life experience – IDENTITY, INTIMACY, and INDUSTRY. Paul exhorts the church to arise and take their place within God’s divine economy, while making the spiritual investment worthy of a child of God. One may hear the words of Christ echoing from the timbre of Paul’s pleading.
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?Matt. 16:24 ESV
We must notice that Paul is making his earnest appeal for “walking worthy” as he sits confined in a prison. The words “I therefore a prisoner” are followed by the dative case phrase “for the Lord” showing that Paul’s imprisonment was by virtue of his relationship with Jesus.
Within the context of walking worthy of the Lord, Paul admonishes further:
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.Eph. 5:15-18 NLT
The verb tense of “walk worthy” emphasizes that we, the professing believer, in covenant relationship with Christ, are to choose to embrace a pattern of life that is submissive to Christ and obedient to all His principles and precepts, so that we may then live within God’s good pleasure and live out His redemptive plan for our souls.
We are to make all concerted efforts, within the confines of enabling grace, to live righteously in all areas and circumstances of our lives. Asserting in practice what Christ has personally instilled within us positionally (2 Peter 1:5-10). We have been afforded this magnificent opportunity because God is our Father, we are His children, and because our Father has a plan for each one of His children. This sentiment expresses our IDENTITY, INTIMACY, and INDUSTRY within the confines of our covenant relationship with Jesus, allowing us the ability to find Christ relevant to every area of life.
Therefore we are to walk in a manner that is worthy of God’s call. “Live a life that corresponds to the standard (God) set when he called you.”* People who identify themselves as Christians must understand that they are called to live divinely within a sinful world, that any orientation towards and quest for evil is a violation and betrayal of covenant faithfulness to God.
Live like a Christ follower
God is not calling us to some compartmentalized contradiction where our service is a mockery to our spiritual condition, or where INDUSTRY scoffs at the lack of INTIMACY with Christ, as we wander aimlessly because of a lack of IDENTITY in Christ.
God has not sentenced us, within the Christian life, to sojourn within a barren wasteland. God does not set His children up to fail. He desires for us to possess our birthright (IDENTITY in Christ) and to live congruently with what God has willed for us (INTIMACY with Christ) so as to be compelled by the essence of Christ alive and dynamic within each of us (INDUSTRY for Christ).
The call of God expresses His will and good pleasure for us, communicated to those who were willing to receive Him (Phil. 2:12-13). This call encompasses all aspects and intentions of His having called us to Himself through salvation, sanctification, and service.
As Louw & Nida have asserted in their linguistic recommendation, “I ask you then … live worthy of the responsibility which God has urgently invited you to accept” or “… live worthy of the task which God has given you to do.”
Live to accomplish God’s purposes
The call of God is always in connection to completing His plan and fulfilling His purpose so as to accomplish His good intention – to complete His bride and to bring His children into the image of Jesus that praise would be brought to the glory of His grace.
The next several blog posts will be given to understanding what Paul was admonishing us to embrace in Ephesians 4:1-3, the walk that is “worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
- What does it mean for me to walk worthy of the calling by which I have been called?
- Have I made the choice to embrace a pattern of life that is submissive to Christ and obedient to all His principles and precepts?
- Do I make all concerted efforts, within the confines of enabling grace, to live righteously in all areas and circumstances of my life?
* Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996).