The Ephesians 4 Challenge

During a recent vacation, I got to spend some much needed time for rest and relaxation.  I was feeling so over-worked and stressed out from work and everyday responsibilities that I neglected to take care of myself. And I was definitely feeling it by the time I checked into my hotel room.

I also wanted to spend some time reading my bible and connecting with God again. Isn’t it funny how during our everyday routine we loose sight of spending time with God, and then when we have more free time we realize how starved for God we really are!

Anyway….during my vacation God directed me to Ephesians 4 where he had a challenge for me. When I read it I got immediately intimidated!  I knew that this challenge was going to be tall order. Check out these few verses from Ephesians 4:

(Verse 1) As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

(Verse 11) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

(Verse 17)  So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…..

(Verse 21-24) Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

This is pretty heavy stuff! Paul is actually pleading with us to live our lives well before the Lord! And not just well but EXCEPTIONALLY WELL! We are to live our lives in a way that builds up the Kingdom of God, always maturing in our God-given knowledge and purpose. Continuously putting off our old way of life to be made new in the attitudes of our minds. WOW! Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were to compare this chapter to my life on a scale of 1 to 10, trust me, I would not score a 10!

It is true that I am a lot further in my faith than what I used to be. But my heart sank at these few verses because I realized all the things I was NOT doing for the Lord. Like building up his kingdom, or telling others about Christ! I don’t even stand up for God when others are around, because I am afraid of being rejected. My “old life” was still clinging to me like a pair of wet socks after the rain. Was I any different from the world around me, as Christ asks us to be?

This chapter strikes at the heart of what it means to be a Christian for me. In reading it, I heard God clearly say “Make a decision, Stephanie! Are you going to serve me, or are you going to remain on the side-lines?”

Being on this vacation made me more reflective of my life. I wanted to serve God wholeheartedly. I wanted to bring others to Christ. I wanted others to know the freedom they could find by being a follower of Jesus. This was the “works of service” Paul mentioned in verse 11. This was the reason for this ministry – Favored Love!

But I had to ask myself these questions? Is my former way of life behind me? Am I now living a life worthy of my calling?  How do I even live a life worthy of my calling anyway?

These questions were by no means answered at the end of my vacation. And to be honest it’s not even solved as a I write this article. But this one thing I do know. Spending more time with God has to be my first priority. It all begins and ends with Jesus! Otherwise, what’s the point of calling ourselves CHRISTIAN!

What about you? How does Ephesians 4 impact your life? Are there areas that you need to work on? How are you living out your God-given calling?

With love and God’s blessings to guide you,
Stephanie

Click <HERE> to read Ephesians 4 in the New International Version.

 

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