Ephesians 4:1 -- I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called ...Most Southern Baptists will hear preachers wax eloquent about what it means to "walk worthy." Usually it is interpreted to mean that Christians are to have quiet times, read the Bible diligently, attend church regularly, tithe, share your faith, live "godly" lives, and do all things for Christ really well. In other words, to "walk worthy" is interpreted to mean DOING well the things a Christian is supposed to DO in terms of religious activities. But is that what "walking worthy" as a Christian really means?
No, it is not. Paul uses the Greek axios, which is translated "worthy" in this passage, but translated "consistent" or "as becometh" in other New Testament passages. For example, in Philippians 1:27 Paul writes "Only let your conversation be as it becometh (axios) the gospel of Christ." Axios is the Greek word from which we get the English word "axiom" or "axiomatic." An axiom is something "that is widely accepted on its own merits." What Paul is saying is clear: I beg you--live the kind of life and be the kind of person that when someone observes you there is no doubt that the calling of God is on your life.
Take a look again at Ephesians 4:1 ---
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called ...Anytime you see the word "therefore" in Scripture you should ask "what is it there for?" Therefore is a connecting word, and you will never understand what follows the word until you know what was written before it. In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul has been describing God's effectual call of us. What is true about a our salvation? Well, if one reads Paul's words in the first three chapters, one learns that God's calling of sinners is all of grace! God loved us when we were unlovely, died for us while we were His enemies, and effectually calls and regenerates us when we had no desire for Him. His call is pure, unmerited grace. After describing this gracious call of God, making his customary transition to articulate how we are to live in relation to others by writing :
"Let your life be as gracious as the gracious call which you have received" (Ephesians 4:1).
A Christian without graciousness may very well be a person without grace. One may declare he is a Christian, or one may profess before the world that Christ is His Lord, and not know Him as Lord and Savior. The axiom that Christ has saved us is lifestyle that is consistent with His calling of grace. We, too, are gracious people. We are different from the world. To put it simply: Graced people live gracious lives. If you cannot be gracious to people, then more than likely God has not been gracious to you.
Paul describes gracious living in the next few verses of Ephesians 4. Graced people "endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit" "Endeavor" could be translated "working hard," Notice, Christians are not called to create this unity, but to maintain it. Paul goes on to reveal five characteristics of a gracious Christian who endeavors to keep the unity of the Spirit:
(1). There is humility --- translated "lowliness" in the King James Version. Humility is the ability to be honest with oneself and about oneself. A humble person does not try to keep people from revealing his weaknesses, but is at the forefront of acknowledging his own faults and frailties.
(2). There is meekness --- could be translated "controlled strength." A meek person is one who has power under control. There is never any "exerting power" or "grasping authority," but rather, a spirit of servanthood toward people. Show me a pastor who is kind to the custodians, I will show you a pastor who isn't exerting authority.
(3). There is longsuffering --- could be translated "patient." This literally means a Christian should be willing to suffer long and be patient with others, in a manner similar to Christ's longsuffering for us.
(4). There is forbearance --- which means the willingness to "bear up" one another. When another Christian struggles we shoulder a burden for him .
(5). There is love --- the willingness to meet the needs of those around us with the kind of spirit that Paul describes in I Corinthians 13.
This is what it means to "walk worthy of your calling." God called you by His grace, and now you live consistent with your calling of grace. You live a gracious life. To be gracious does not mean you refuse to confront. You confront like Christ's confronts. You love like Christ loves. You care like Christ cares. You live unselfishly like Christ lives unselfishly. Your life, when observed, is an axiom of the truth of God's grace through Christ.
People see Christ in your life as much as your words.
In His Grace,