17. What is my calling?
Ephesians 4:1-2. “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (NLT)
A speaker from my youth encouraged us, whenever we read the word “therefore” in the Bible, to ask ourselves, what is the “therefore” there for? That term is pointing us back to what has been written previously. In this case, Paul is basing his next significant statement on all that he has written so far in this letter to the Ephesians –– Because we have been given such blessings from God, because of the overwhelming love of God for us, because Jesus now lives in us through His Spirit, because we now have access to all the power that was displayed in the Resurrection… THEREFORE, Paul begs us to live a life worthy of the calling we have been given.
But what does “calling” mean? Being called (verb) to a specific calling (noun) means being selected and summoned for a particular position or purpose for which God created me.
Because of all that I have been given as a believer, I am urged to live in a way that is consistent with who I am in Christ and consistent with what God has called me to be and do. That is my calling. I am called to act like a daughter of the holy King and be about my Father’s business of loving and serving others and helping to build His kingdom. This includes helping others to know Him and grow in their relationships with Him. All believers are called to be and do these things. That is our general calling.
Also, along with all believers, God has created me anew in Christ Jesus and has prepared specific good things for me to do (2:10). In addition to our general calling, God has also given us each a personal calling. I believe God has given me gifts and passions to teach, to support my husband and our ministry in many administrative ways, and to shepherd (encourage, comfort, mentor, and coach) others. In order to live in a way that enables and allows me to fulfill my calling (“to lead a life worthy of [my] calling”), I need to stay in a close relationship with God (the positive aspect) and avoid those thoughts and actions that will keep me from fulfilling my calling (the negative aspect).
I’m in the process of fleshing out all that means for me. So far, the positive things I can do to live worthy of my calling include (1) being immersed in God’s Word daily, which for me means reading, digging deeper into the meaning behind the words, and considering how the passage applies to my life. I want to know not only what the passage says, but what it really means. What are the implications of this truth for what I believe about God, about myself and other people, about what pleases God, etc.? And then, how can I apply this to my life starting today? (2) Growing in my prayer life. I’m convicted about how little time I spend communicating with God. I want both my formal prayer times and my more casual, spontaneous conversations with God throughout the day to be a larger part of my life. And (3) becoming more involved in the community of believers. The pandemic has deepened my close relationships with a few people, but limited my relationships with a larger group, which I feel is needed in order to be and do the things God wants.
The negative aspect of “walking worthy” requires that I avoid the things that keep me from living out my true identity in Christ. Primarily I need to become more sensitive to the Spirit’s convictions and leadings, and then respond quickly with confession and/or action. More about that later in the rest of Ephesians.
Father, I want to do those good things You planned for me to do long ago. Please give me spiritual sight to see what You want me to do, and quick obedience to do them. Make me aware of the things in my life that keep me from reflecting You. Amen