Ephesians 4:1 bothers me: “Therefore, as a prisoner of the Lord, I urge to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received. . .”
Here’s not why it bothers me. It doesn’t bother that Paul is sitting in a prison cell, saying, “I got put in jail for Jesus. You might have a similar experience.” It doesn’t bother me that I’ve been called to walk in a completely moral and upright way. I get both of those things. What bothers me is the word, “worthy.”
It bothers me because I can’t do it. There’s no way I can live up to the calling I’ve received. I know that today I’m going to be guilty of both sins of commission and sins of omission. And in my guilt, I will have once again proved myself unworthy. It sounds like Paul is telling us here to try hard to be worthy of what you’ve been given.
It reminds me a little bit of the draft. Lots of sports talk radio has started moving that direction, and everyone’s giving their opinions about who the top picks will be in this year’s NFL draft. But along with that, there’s been alot of analyzation about which players have been “busts” in the past. That is, which players were thought alot of, paid a truckload of money, and then didn’t live up to what they’ve been given.
That’s what this verse makes me think of. I’ve been drafted to God’s team, and there’s been a huge price paid for me, so now it’s my job to make sure with my performance the management doesn’t regret their decision.
But I’m not sure that’s what Paul is getting at. If you look at how he describes our calling up to this point in the book of Ephesians, you find this passage in chapter 1: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (v. 4-5).
What is the calling? It’s a calling to be the sons of God. “Holy and blameless” is a description of our identity as sons, and two attributes given to us not on the basis of our own merit but on the alien righteousness of Jesus on our behalf. We are called to be sons, and that changes everything about Ephesians 4:1.
I don’t think Paul’s telling us to make sure, with our conduct, that God doesn’t regret His decision to call us; I think it’s more something like I tell my son when he walks out the door: “Joshua, at school today remember who you are.” It’s an effort to help us remember that we are part of the family of God, and as a part of that family, there is a certain way we are meant to behave. We don’t do it to earn the approval of the Father, but because we are already part of His family.
Walk worthy. Remember who your Daddy is.