“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
~ Ephesians 4:1 (NKJV)
Walk worthy of the calling.
This is a phrase that’s been lingering in my heart and mind for the last year, ever since I really began studying those opening verses of Ephesians 4. How do we do that? How do we walk worthy of the calling of being a Christ-follower?
Well first there’s the idea of walking. Walking is an ACTION. More, it’s one of the most common actions we take. It’s something we do every day. We walk. We walk to each thing we’re doing, through each thing we’re doing. We walk out our faith, our beliefs. But walking is still WORK. It uses up energy. It involves the whole body. Walking with God means that we’re working alongside Him, engaged in active communication with Him. Much like in the opening chapters of Genesis, right? Adam and Eve walked with God. Enoch walked with God before he was taken up to haven.
But Paul doesn’t just instruct us here to walk. He qualifies it. We need to walk in a particular way: worthy. Like, we can all walk, stride along, living out what we think is good. Everyone does that, whether Christian or not. What’s special about our walk? What makes it worthy?
The calling. We’re not just called to do our own thing. We’re not just called to have our own opinions. We’re not just called to make money or accomplish what we dream of. We’re called to be Christ to the world.
In church, we’ve been reading through I Clement (not part of the cannon but one of the earliest Christian writings; a letter from the leaders of the Church in Rome to the Church in Corinth). In the chapter we read last week, Clement drew on this same phrase. He calls out the Corinthians, who had been pursuing selfish ambitions and had ejected good men from leadership for these ambitious reasons, not because of any actual complaint against them, that they were proving themselves “unworthy of their Christian profession.”
Now, profession here means that they have professed Christ–they’ve claimed Him. But I think our modern idea of a profession being a vocation or job actually adds some interesting understanding. Because the thing we profess to do or be becomes a huge part of our lives, right? We introduce ourselves with it. We think in terms of it. It defines quite a lot about us. Christ need to be what we profess most. We need to be Christian above and before writer, homemaker, lawyer, accountant, teacher, engineer, farmer, vet, dentist, driver, or whatever. Because whether we put it first or not, others know we have claimed it. And they judge CHRIST according to what WE do.
Yep, lots of pressure there. WE are how the world sees Jesus. WE give Christianity a good or bad name. So if we’re more concerned with how we’re treated than in how we’re treating other…if we spend more time serving ourselves than them…if we only love our own and not our enemies…then we are giving Jesus a bad name. We’re unworthy of that profession of being His. We’re not walking worthy of the calling.
Now, HOW we walk out that greater calling is going to look different for each of us…and it’s going to get into the particulars that each of us are called to do. Whatever you’re called to do–to teach or create or make music or minister to the poor or encourage others, etc–you’re called to do in a way that’s worthy of Him. A way that glorifies Him. A way that points to Him.
So are we? Are we living out our callings in a way that’s worthy of Him?
This is something we tend to notice pretty quickly in others…let’s take some time to examine the question for us.
I’d love to hear what everyone here is called to do! What calling are you walking out now, and what dreams do you hold in your heart?