Walk in a Manner Worthy of your calling

07/05/15

Walk in a Manner Worthy of Your Calling

Have you ever been reading the Bible and you came across a verse that stops you dead in your tracks? That happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I came across Ephesians 4:1. Let me fill you in on the background of the book of Ephesians. The letter was written by Paul to be read to the churches in Ephesus, which is in modern day Turkey. Paul was the one who started the church in Ephesus, and they held a special place in his heart. He tells them in 1:15-17 how thankful he is because of their faith and love. The pastor of the Ephesian church is Timothy and the apostle John also served there. When the guys who write the Bible are running your church, you’re probably doing pretty well.

In the first two verses of chapter four, Paul tells us 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.” It was that first part that caused me to stop and just stare at the page. “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” My mind immediately jumped to the questions of, “What exactly is that calling to which I have been called?” The first thing that came to my mind was youth ministry. I fully believe that that is where God has called me, and I think that my life has been an affirmation to that calling. The more that I thought about it, I came to the realization that this verse is speaking to a more general calling, the calling of becoming a Christian.

Do you know what Jesus said to each of His disciples when he “called” them? He used some variation of “follow me” every single time. That is “the calling to which we have been called,” to follow Jesus. If someone asked you what it meant to be a Christian, what would you say? Often, we tend to attach all kinds of things to what it means to be a Christian. We come up with a set of rules, actions, or knowledge that must be met for someone to be saved. Another group of people who did that was the Pharisees. The only thing that Jesus asked was for His disciples to follow Him.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? I think that it’s simple, believe and follow. I don’t think that those things can be separated. When Jesus calls His first disciples, Peter (then Simon) and his brother Andrew, He made them a promise, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they dropped everything and followed Jesus. They didn’t know what was going to happen, they didn’t have any idea where they were going, and they didn’t really know whom Jesus was. All they did was trust in the promise that He gave them and followed Him. I believe that is what it means for us to be Christians, trust in the promises that He gives us and follow Him. We don’t need to know everything, we don’t need to be perfect, and there is no checklist of things we must do aside from believe and follow. That is “the calling to which you have been called.” If you do those two things, everything else will fall in line.

As the disciples followed Jesus, they learned what it meant to live into their calling as Christians. There are dozens of teachings in the Gospels on how to live our lives, but they can ultimately be summed up in three commandments.

The first is the great commandment, “love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37, quoted from Duet 6:5) We are to place our love for God above all else. Above money, above fame, above power, above friends, above family, above ourselves, etc. God needs to be our number one, and He desires to have all of us. This may sound like a tall task, and it is something that we struggle with daily.  I am here to promise you that if you are loving God like that, you will experience unsurpassed joy. Not because God is going to love you extra but because you will have aligned all of yourself with the only source of true joy in this world.

The second can be found in John 13:34 when Jesus tell us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are to love one another.” Why is this a new commandment? In Leviticus 19:18 we are told to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus ultimately one-ups this. There are limits to how well we love ourselves, but there is no limit to how Jesus loves us. His love is a perfect love that is unconditional, sacrificial, humble, serving, and forgiving love. That is how we are supposed to love all people, and I do mean ALL  people. No exceptions! Why? Jesus answers that for us, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” If we want to show that we are following Jesus, we need to love like He does. 
 
The final commandment comes through The Great Commission found in Matthew 28: 18-20.

 

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.                                                             Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them In the name of the Father and                                                               of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.                                                                     And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

The actual commandment is to “go.” We are to go out into the world preaching and teaching about the Savior who has called us to follow him and we are to invite other to fulfill that same calling.

The actual Greek translation of “follow me” means to walk closely behind, that is “the calling in which we have been called.” We are to walk as closely behind Jesus as we possibly can, trusting that He is who he says He is and that He is going to do what He says He’s going to do.

How well are you doing with following Jesus? How well are you walking “in a manner worthy of your calling?” That is a question that is constantly rolling around my mind since I read Ephesians 4:1 a couple of weeks ago. I have even put a reminder up in my office to live my life in a way that is “worthy of that calling.” Above my door, I have put up an index card with that verse written on it. I try to remember to touch it as I walk out the door, kind of like what you see college football teams do as they leave their locker rooms. It is a reminder that I have been given the highest calling of them all, the call to be a follower of Christ.

If you have answered your calling to follow Him, then I highly recommend that you let Paul’s imploring in Ephesians 4:1 permeate your soul. Live every moment of everyday doing all that you can to “walk in a manner worthy of that calling.” Love God with everything you have, love people the way Jesus loves them, and tell everyone about the endless love of our Messiah. If you do those three things, not only will you be walking in a “manner worthy of your calling,” you will be following Jesus so closely that you may step on His heels.

Kyle Smith, Director of Youth Ministries


One Response to “Walk in a Manner Worthy of your calling”

  1. Denise Smith says:

    Kyle your messages are very necessary to all of us to follow the Lord keep it up. Love you

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