I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1 NIV )
In June, I saw a computer wallpaper from Crosscards.com that has completely captivated my thinking. In bold letters it told me “Don’t Waste Your Life!” It was followed by the first verse of Ephesians 4. Had I been reading through Ephesians and come to chapter four, I probably would have skimmed over verse one and continued reading. On my own, I would not have connected the idea of not wasting my life with the words in the verse.
Don’t Waste Your Life!
I am at that unique point in my life where I have to redefine myself and decide what to do with the rest of my life. My daughters are grown and live together 20 miles away. My son is in US Marine Corps boot camp three states away.
I have an empty nest.
That which has defined me for the past 25 years is not longer true. I have finished raising my children. While I am still a mother, mothering is not my primary occupation. Yes, I am a grandmother (Nana!) to our 4-year-old grandson and provide day care for him when needed, but he has a loving mother who is the center of his world.
So what do I do now at age 46?
Suddenly I feel like I did at 18 and needed to decide on a college major. I have time to pursue my writing full-time. I even have a work-in-progress. While that may take up some of my day, there must be more than just that to the second half of life. Perhaps it is the constant desire I have always had to have “done something with my life” that caused the words on that computer wallpaper to have such an impact on me.
When I became a believer at age 12, church became the center of my social circle as well as the classroom for my spiritual growth. Because I was raised in a military family and then married a military man, our church families became our extended families as we moved around the country. And while attending and working in the church is good, good work itself is not enough for a purposeful life.
The word of God has been the central point in my life for over 30 years, yet I am amazed that I keep finding new and exciting ideas in the Bible. The more I pondered Ephesians 4:1 this past month and a half, the more I have been drawn to really understand it. God has a plan, a direction, already laid out for those He calls. We just need to look for it and walk alongside Him.
Three questions have come to my mind.
1) What is the calling I have received? 2) What is a worthy life? 3) How do I live Ephesians 4:1?
John MacArthur, in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians, put those questions more clearly. He relates that the apostle Paul is describing the Christian walk by discussing "its call, its characteristics, and its cause."
The Call: He Chose Us
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. (Ephesians 1:4 NIV )
The call Paul talks about is the call to salvation through Christ Jesus. It begins with God choosing us. He actually seeks us out: “ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV )
It is not human nature to turn to God; it is our nature to try to satisfy ourselves. In fact before we get to the place where we accept the call from God “ the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. ” (Romans 8:7 NIV ) It is impossible for us to turn to God with out His reaching out to us. “ But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ” (Romans 5:8 NIV )
The Call: He Offers Life
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV )
We are invited to join the family of God through adoption as true sons and daughters. " But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name." (John 1:12 NKJV ) With our acceptance of God's call comes abundant life, " In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV )
What we do with the call He give us determines how we live out a life that is full and useful, not wasted. Next time we will look at the life worthy of the call.