“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)
“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”Colossians 1:10 (ESV)
This word worthy is used to mean “as if you deserve it”.
“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”, boils down to: you have received God and His gift and now walk as if you deserve it.
As Christians we know that what we deserve is death because of our sin (Romans 6:23) and that the eternal life which we have received is not because we deserve it, but rather because God has gifted it to us (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is the basic Gospel message. And so we know that we do not deserve what we have. Yet, we should live in such a way that we are worthy of what we have been given.
This may confuse you slightly. How are we, who are so unworthy, supposed to walk in such a way as if we are worthy?
Well, the Bible never uses phrases like “try and…” or “do your best to…”. God tells us what we should ultimately be like so that we never stop at what we think is “good enough”.
Let me illustrate this for you:
I play the flute. I have 12 years of experience and have completed all the training necessary to go to university for music if I wished. But, I haven’t always been a flautist with several years of experience.
When I was 12 years old and had only been playing for about a year, my teacher placed a piece of music in front of me and said “play it”. I gawked at her because the music in front of me was unlike anything I had seen before. But, knowing she was serious, I put my flute to my lips and started to play.
It didn’t take very long before I was in tears and feeling completely and utterly defeated. I thought that maybe I was a failure of a musician and should just give up right then. My teacher whipped the music away and said to me, “That was a grade eight level piece. I just wanted to know how far you would go to meet my expectations for you”.
There was no way I could have played that piece properly. The expectation was far too high for my current skill level. But it showed the goal I was aiming for.
Please notice that my teacher didn’t say to me “I want you to try and play this piece” or “I want you to play the first two bars because this piece is really difficult”. She set it up as an expectation. When I failed, she gave me a hug and helped me back on track and kept working with me (and I can now play the piece).
This is kind of how God works.
If my teacher had said “just play two bars” then I could have achieved that through good practice and felt like I was a genius because I could play two bars of such a complicated piece.
We as humans try this method all the time. “Well you know, I’m a pretty good person, I’ve never murdered anybody and I go to church every Sunday.” We do just enough and then think we are amazing.
While I am not saying that you shouldn’t take small steps and work your way to certain goals or levels, we should never settle for just “two bars”. And God never gives us that option.
Think about the things God tells us to do:
“Be Holy as I am Holy” – 1 Peter 1:16. Not, “start by trying to be as holy as … and then move up to …”. He sets the bar with “Me, yes the almighty and perfect God of the universe, I want you to be like I am”.
“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Not, “start by praying once a day, and then twice…”. God says “All the time, I want you to be consumed with me and talk to me without stopping”.
Are you understanding how this works? God wants us to work towards perfection and to never stop until we get there. And no, this doesn’t mean that if you are always messing up and can never get it right that God has given up on you. He wants progress and He understands that you are human, He just wants to make sure that you never stop moving in that direction.
Walking worthy of our calling can take many different forms but it boils down to “be holy as I am holy”. I encourage you to make the commitment to walk worthy of your calling.