I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1)
So let me get this straight, according to the apostle Paul — according to the Bible — I need to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received. Hmmmm.
I remember when I got my first cell phone. Almost nobody had one and so I’d often call Kelly just to say, “I’m talking to you from my car!” Now, most everybody has a phone with them all the time. There is no place where we are out of reach and cannot receive a call. Some days it seems like everybody is calling all day long.
But we are talking about a different kind of calling, a different kind of caller — a call from God. What does it mean to live a life worthy of my call? What is my call? What does a life worthy of that it look like?
Often people mean different things when they use the term call. When I use it, I am referring to one of three things:
God’s call for a person to be his disciple — the call to faith; God’s call for a person toward specific deeds — the call to care for the poor for example; and, God’s life thread call in a person — the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
By definition, every Christian responds to #1. Most respond at least some of the time to #2, and smallest yet are those who hear or respond to #3. The life Jesus promises, “more and better life than you ever imagined,” (John 10:10) is discovered in responding to all three. But how? How do we begin?
First, begin where Paul begins, with #1 (the 3 build upon and are interconnected with each other). God has called you to him, to eternal life (which Jesus defines as knowing God the father and knowing him (John 17:3)). What does it mean to know God? What does it mean to be known by God? What does it mean to be perfectly loved by God? Take a little time to sit with and answer those questions. Not for someone else, but for you. What do those things mean for you, for your life, for your circumstances? Another way of thinking about it is what are the ramifications of those truths for your day to day life?
I suspect that one of the most important ramifications will be courage and a desire to move with God, in his courage, into a more full pursuit of #2 and #3. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But, it will not “just happen.” It will require a honing of your recognition of his voice so that you might hear it more clearly amongst the so many others who are calling. That honing will come if you really want it to and are intentional about it. For example, consider sharing your answers to the above questions with one other person — a spiritual companion. As you go about your day and you hear God’s voice — or what you think is his voice — do what it says (it’s not brain surgery here). Meet with your spiritual companion each week and share the amazing ways God is calling you.
As we move into a new Creekside year together, we will be focusing on the reality that God calls us not merely as individuals, but as a body, a corporate call, a corporate life thread, a call to be his people. God calls and God weaves us into a tapestry — the church. The thread of God’s call weaves through the ways that we live and move and have our being as a church that worships and prays, that is connected into scripture and committed to justice, that seeks to live in the freedom that Christ brings, that is evangelistic about the good news of the good life, and that is infused by the hope of God’s Kingdom come.
Individually and collectively we are discovering how to live out the calling that we have received – ordinary people living the extraordinary way of Jesus.
Peace, hope and love