4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
(Ephesians 4:1 NIV)
Today we begin the second half of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In the first three chapters, Paul focused on doctrine; in the second half, he focuses on practice.
Paul recognized that to follow Christ is not just to know about Him, but to commit our lives to Him, and to obey His commands.
Let’s use sailing a boat as an example. We can know every term, identify every piece of gear and what it’s used for, and even lay out a route to take a trip. But if we never untie the boat from the dock, leave the safety of the harbor, and go out into the open water, we will not have had the experience of sailing, or be able to call ourselves sailors.
And so it is in our walk with Christ. Paul says that if we want to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, then we must live our lives in such a way that reflects the One we follow.
Paul begins by identifying himself as a “prisoner of the Lord”. Paul refers to his current situation, of being in prison, but not just a detainee, waiting until his trial, but rather, redeeming the time for God’s glory.
Do you feel you are in God’s waiting room? Do you feel like God has been delayed, or possibly forgotten you, because it is taking so long to hear from Him?
Those are all common feelings that many people have experienced over time. God is always at work, but He does not always show His hand while he is working behind the scenes. He is God; He does not have to.
If we trust God, and believe that He loves us, then we are free to redeem our time, even in God’s waiting room, or in God’s desert, alone and by ourselves. It’s our time to heal, to think, to worship, to study, to discover how great our God is, to converse with Him about whatever is on our hearts.
Paul reminds us that we are called by God to serve Him. He has a purpose for our lives, and calls us to live into the fullness of who He created us to be. This greatness, this calling, is not measured as the world measures greatness, but as God measures it. Greatness, as God measures it, is achieved in relationship to Him, through Jesus Christ.
May we use our time wisely and intentionally, learning to walk with the Lord and enjoy His company and joy through the ups and downs of life, through the glad times and tough times, no matter our circumstances.
His calling is truly a life worth living, the only way which brings hope and meaning for eternity.