What does it mean to “walk worthy of the calling with which we were called?” Does anyone do this anymore? Moreover, can anyone ever really “walk worthy” of the calling of our Lord?
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you [plead with you] to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1)
While it may be difficult at times and fewer people seem preoccupied with this, it is possible to walk worthy of the calling with which we were called by Christ. Walking worthy does not imply the complete absence of sin; invariably we fail, and it is God alone who is holy. Walking worthy does, however, involve a concerted resolution to obey God at all costs, and there are steps we can take to make sure we succeed.
First and foremost, however, we must agree with God that no one—including me—is good enough on their own merits and trust completely in the forgiveness and acceptance we get through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is because of Him, and only because of Him, that God sees the holiness of Christ when He looks at me and not my innate sinfulness. This is prerequisite to everything else, because without the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in my heart when I submit to the authority of Christ, I am still spiritually dead—as Jesus said, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Once you have been forgiven through Christ, however, working worthy involves several things.
The first and most obvious requirement is knowing who God is and what He wants of us—what our obligation is to Him. The only way we can know who He is and what our duty is toward Him is by regularly reading His word. Jesus says, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you.” (John 15:3-4a) Because John identifies Jesus is the Word of God, today this means reading the Bible. This can be done in various ways—through picking up the Bible every morning, afternoon, or evening and reading another chapter or two (it will take an average of four chapters a day to read through it in a year), through a Bible study such as Precept Upon Precept which gets you into specific Bible study on a daily basis, or even by writing a devotional for others–whatever works for you. The important thing, however, is that you do it on a daily basis, as much as you can. It’s like eating—you won’t starve to death if you fast for a day, but try doing that for a while, and you will notice the difference!
The second thing walking worthy of our calling involves is responding to what we learn. Specifically, this means that when the Holy Spirit points these things out to us in our own lives as we read them in the Bible, we make an adjustment, rather than ignore it. That is obedience. James wrote about this very thing: “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness [the bad we naturally want to do], and receive with meekness the implanted word [what we learn through the Bible] , which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty [the message of salvation] and continues in it [does it], and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:21-27) We are blessed when we not only learn what God wants of us but also actually do it. His goal is to perfect us—to bring us to the full stature of the measure of Christ (see Ephesians 4:13)—to make us into the people He wants us to be in Christ. When we obey Him in faith—when we refuse to continue in the sinful habits and patterns we have known and enjoyed—but rather choose what we now know is right and good—we are walking worthy of the calling with which we were called.
Help us walk worthy of You, not just when we feel like it, but at all times. Help us especially to choose to walk in obedience to You when we don’t feel like it, and bring You glory thereby. In Jesus’ name, Amen.