Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
When it comes to Ephesians, I feel like writing a whole devotional on each verse! It’s no wonder the pages are trying to fall out of my Bible at this point. To unpack this verse, we first have to deal with Paul being a prisoner. Legally speaking he was a prisoner of the Romans, but he explicitly states that he was a prisoner of/for the Lord. I’m reminded of what he said to the Corinthians: “For Christ’s love compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14) Different translations render that in various ways, but Paul, considering what God had done for him, could see no proper response other than total obedience. That made him look at every element of his life as a part of God’s plan for him, and though he didn’t understand it all, and didn’t necessarily enjoy it all, he was convinced that it was an expression of God’s love for him and for the world. That’s why he called himself a prisoner of/for the Lord. From that position he then addresses other believers, and states that they have received a calling. I think the majority of people aren’t aware of a “calling” in their life, and that’s very sad. Many people really struggle with the whole idea of purpose in their lives, and as one writer said, “The majority of people live lives of quiet desperation.” The thing is, God never creates anything without a purpose for it, and that includes every human being. (As a parenthetical note, that’s one of the tragedies of abortion.) God, and therefore Paul, wants each person to be aware of their purpose, their calling, and that is doubly true for every believer. When we understand that we have a calling from our Creator, then responding fully to that calling should unquestionably be our highest priority. Understanding all that means is the work of a lifetime, but we need to start right now, asking God to make His calling more clear to us and to give us wisdom and strength to follow it completely.
This of course applies as much to me as it does to anyone. Yesterday I watched an interview with the stepson of C. S. Lewis, and I was quite moved. He has had various occupations in his life, but his calling is to to be a child, a disciple, an agent, of God. I identified totally, having had a very checkered work history myself. Just last night a close friend of many years said of me, to another friend, that I seemed to be many people, because there were so many different things I could do. My response was that I didn’t always distinguish correctly what was the most important thing to do. I am given to be a teacher, a musician, a pastor, an electrician, a truck driver, and a number of other things, but I am called to be a child of God, accurately representing Christ to the world. I can fulfill that calling only by the grace and power of God, but nothing is impossible for Him. I am to rejoice and be grateful for whatever degree of success He gives me in that, for His glory alone.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the rich fellowship among the pastors last night over dinner. There are changes going on, with one pastor retiring and another moving, but there was a beautiful awareness that we were all brothers in the same family, regardless of organizational labels. I pray that You would grow that kind of unity throughout the Body of Christ here in Omura, so that all of Your plans and purposes may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!