The New Testament book of Ephesians is a delicate balance of Christian doctrine and duty. It talks about belief, then about behavior. It matters what you believe—because what you believe determines how you behave. The first three chapters are doctrinal—the final three chapters are practical. It is as if he was saying, “You have believed these things (Eph. 1—3), now practice these things (Eph. 4—6).”
Written by the apostle Paul from a prison cell in Rome, chapters 4, 5 and 6, reveal great insights in how Christians are to walk with God as they live in this world. He writes about the Godly Walk (4:1-16); the Forbidden Walk (4:17-32); the Loving Walk (5:1-7); the Enlightened Walk (5:8-14); and the Careful Walk (5:15-21).
Living for Christ in this world is no easy task. Someone said, “Living above with saints we love—that will be glory. But living below with saints we know—that’s a different story.” Every believer in Christ, seeking to honor Him here, struggles with the world, the flesh and the devil. Our sinful nature is not eradicated when we are saved. The allurements of sin in the world are real, even for Christians. And the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet, Christians are called to live holy lives.
To counter that downward pull of the natural man, Paul challenged the Ephesians, and believers today, to live worthy of their calling. He wrote, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).
SO, what can we learn about walking worthy of our calling, as Christians?
1st The Choice is Yours…”I implore you”
Paul could have commanded them with apostolic authority, but instead he pleads with them. He appealed to them from his position, as “the prisoner of the Lord.” He was bound in a cell because of his connection with, and service to, the Lord Jesus Christ. If not for his devotion to Christ, Paul could have lived free. He held a highly prized Roman citizenship, with many opportunities. But because of his devotion to Christ, his daily life was confined to a subterranean cage.
On the basis of his sacrifice, Paul appealed for followers of Christ to choose the sacrificial life of service to Jesus. But, make no mistake, the choice was theirs, just as it is yours. After receiving Christ as your Savior, you must choose to live for Him as Lord. No one but you can make that choice. However, in light of the value of the gift, it should be easy to make.
2nd The Lifestyle Matters…”to walk in a manner”
A person’s “walk” is their manner of life; how they conduct themselves; the way they order their behavior. Bottom line: it matters how you live. For Christians, onlookers observe their lifestyle every day. The way we live, the words we use, the hobbies we choose, the movies we watch, the people we follow, the books we read, the friends we pick—all indicate the “manner” of life we live.
As Christians, our lifestyle should reflect the characteristics of Christ. These are summed up in the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, who indwells us. The fruit, or evidence of Christ in our lives are seen when we manifest “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). These are people “who belong to Christ Jesus” and “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (verse 24). They also “live by the Spirit” and “walk by the Spirit” (verse 25). God longs for His people to live in ways that glorify Him and manifest His ways.
3rd The Call is Demanding …”worthy of the calling with which you have been called”
When something is “worthy,” it means it has the same value, or weight, as something else. Here, Paul states that every believer should seek to live his or her life in a way that reveals the value, or worth of their calling. He challenged the Ephesians, to see that the Christian life they lived weighed as much as the profession of Christ they had made. They were, and we are, to practice what we preach. If you were convicted and called by God to receive Christ—and you repented of your sins and believed in Him—live worthy of it. If you claim Jesus saved you—live like you are saved!
The Christian life is demanding. But when you trust Christ as your Savior, God sends His Holy Spirit to fill, guide, convict and correct you. This internal director will always lead you to do what pleases God, if you hear and heed Him. He will never lead you away from God, but always toward Him.
Man! Don’t just go with the flow. God calls His children to live distinctly for Him and His glory. We are commanded: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). May we “walk worthy of our calling.” Let’s not give unbelievers an excuse to reject Christ because of our hypocrisy. Let’s begin to walk worthy of Him.
After all: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).