Monday, September 23, 2013

Is My Life Worthy of the Calling of Christ?

Yesterday at CANVAS Church Pastor Joey preached a sermon from Ephesians 4:1-6.  It was a good sermon about being engaged and together in mission as a church.  He talked about how all healthy, successful organizations (in business and ministry) are made up of not only great leaders, but engaged and passionate followers who carry the mission forward.  As part of the sermon Pastor Joey showed a graph from his studies in organization leadership that depicted the importance of both critical thinking and active engagement.  The higher someone in an organization is on both those axis-es the more they will enjoy their work and the more they will help the organization accomplish its goals.

While all the content of the sermon was good (you can listen to the message here) the thing that keeps bouncing around in my head is something Pastor Joey didn't spend too much time on.  I can't stop thinking about the weight and the implications of one single verse - namely, Ephesians 4:1.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
The "I' in this verse is the Apostle Paul.  I started thinking about what it means that Paul identifies himself as a prisoner of the Lord.  A prisoner at it's most basic level is someone who is not free to do whatever they want to do; rather, prisoners live under the control of those who imprison them.  It is interesting that Paul would use this metaphor to describe his relationship to Christ.  Also, the prepositional phrase here isn't what you'd expect.  Paul says he is a prisoner "for the Lord."  I would have expected to see the phrase "of the Lord."  What that means to me is that Paul has willingly placed himself under the constraints of Christ.  Jesus has not come and made Paul a prisoner, forcing him to live in a way that he doesn't desire.  Rather, Paul, in a response to who Jesus is and what He has done, has chosen to live as a prisoner for the Lord, joyfully submitting power and authority under the charge of the Lord.  Paul must have recognized that it was better to live as a prisoner for the Lord than to live as a free man for himself.

Second, the "you" in this verse are Christians.  In the specific context it is the Christians at the church in Ephesus, but the verse can be taken as a charge to all Christians in general.  Paul urges believers to walk (behave) in a manner worthy of the calling.  What is the calling to which Christians have been called?  Without taking the time for an expository deep dive into all of Scripture what can generally be concluded is that the calling on all Christians is to live in a way that is obedient to Christ's Lordship, thankful for His sacrifice, and exalting to God's grandeur and grace.  The Westminster Catechism says that they chief end of man is to 'glorify God and enjoy him forever.'  I'm challenged by Ephesians 4:1 to take a hard look at the way I walk and ask myself the question, "Am I behaving in a manner worthy of Christ?  Do all aspects of the way I live bring glory to God?"


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