Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Walk worthy - Ephesians 4:1-3

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Let's start off by considering at what Paul is not saying. He is not saying that we must first show ourselves worthy before we can embrace God's calling on our lives, nor is he saying that our worthiness for God's calling is determined by our works done in our own effort. Paul's plea that we should walk worthy is not a call to return to the Law and to works as if we could earn God's calling by our own actions and efforts. Paul is calling us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling because God has already made us worthy. We have already been called, the blood of Christ has already made us worthy, we have already been adopted as sons and daughters of God, therefore let us walk in the reality of who we really are. Our worth is not found in our actions and works but in whose we are. If we have truly become sons and daughters of Christ, then let us no longer live as orphans and as sons and daughters of the world, let us assume and live out our new identity by walking in light of who we really are.

The Greek word for "worthy" is translated in the since of  living "appropriately" or "as becomes". In other words, it is the object that follows that should determine our behavior. Our behavior is not to earn our calling, but because we are called, we ought to walk in a way that is appropriate to, or as becomes, our calling. To help us, Paul lists some of those things that are appropriate, or befitting, of our calling. What is interesting is that he lists none of the typical spiritual disciplines that we would normally think of when contemplating a religious life, such as prayer, fasting, study, meditation, and attendance at church. Those things which Paul adjures us to do are all relate to our behavior towards one another. The Christian life is a life of relationships; our relationship with God and our relationships with one another. We cannot focus on one to the detriment of the other. If we love God but treat each other with contempt and indifference, then we really have not fully come into the fullness of our life with Christ. John goes so far as to say, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." (1 John 4:20-21) Those things which Paul lists are all acts of love by which we show the love of Christ to one another.

To walk worthy of our calling is to walk in love towards one another. Our bond of unity comes not through our agreement on theology nor our loyalty or affinity to a particular minister or ministry, but it comes through the bonds of love which we share with one another. Paul commands us, "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." (Colossians 3:14) It is our love for one another than produces unity among us, but this love must not be internal only, it must be expressed through our actions and deeds towards one another. Solomon reminds us that, "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed." (Proverbs 27:5 NKJV) It is not enough to be loving towards one another, we must live out that love through our deeds and actions. It is not enough to feel love, we must express our love through humility, gentleness, forbearance, patience, and forgiveness. Only when we learn to do this will our lives truly express the full character of our calling by which we have been called by God.

David Robison

No comments:

Post a Comment