Ephesians 4:1 is one of my favorite verses. It’s one of the first love-letters I felt from my King when I began to hear him calling me into ministry. I had taught Sunday school, children’s church, and even an occasional Sunday night service, but I knew God was assigning me to a platform I wasn’t ready for. This verse was instructional, not corrective, and honestly, it's how I heard Jesus speak it to me to prepare for the things to come. “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Ephesians 4:1
We all have areas in our life that need a bit of polishing, and this chapter is all about shining a bit more so we can reflect the One we are commissioned to represent. Ephesian 4 speaks on unity and the Body of Christ. We are placed on this little round planet to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth. To be ambassadors for Christ.
We are citizens of another world. Have you ever seen someone swear allegiance to a country? It’s quite moving. To pledge devotion to one country, you have to denounce your loyalty to your old country. We watched as a young man gained citizenship to America by joining the Army. He was graduating boot camp with my son, and we were invited to watch this momentous occasion this soldier’s life.
Some may look at it as a betrayal to his home of origin, and in a way, it is. He betrayed a country of poverty, oppression, and communism to become an American. And with this new allegiance, he had to live a life with his new identity and learn a new lifestyle. His freedom came with a commitment and a rejection. Choosing to live a life worthy of his new country and put on a new nature meant he was willing to serve, fight, and die for the country that welcomed him. If he were killed in action, it would be an American flag over his casket, marking him a hero of his country.
And like the soldier who denounced his old home to become a citizen of a new country, we, too, must make that same commitment. We must put on a new nature. You see, our citizenship was purchased for us; we just have to be willing to accept it. But with our acceptance, there also comes the transformation of becoming like the one who grafted us, adopted us, or naturalized us into His Kingdom. We look different, act different, speak differently than the world we are from.
I believe in making ourselves a student of our heroes. Learning and gleaning from those who’s are ahead of us. This means we are casting off an old way and learning a new one. A better, a more disciplined one. Not because we are not loved or accepted, but because we are being transformed and made new. “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” Ephesians 4:24
I could go on and on with this remarkable chapter about the Fivefold ministry and the church's spiritual gifts, but none of that is worth a hill of beans if we don’t know our true identity in Christ. This chapter isn’t asking you to change who you are; it is inviting you to become who you were meant to be, made to be, called to be. It's instructing you on how to become a true citizen of heaven. It’s not shaming or condemning; it requires you to put away the behavior that doesn’t belong in the new Kingdom you have been transplanted into. Verse 31 tells us to put away bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and evil behavior, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving. Becoming part of a new tribe, family or country involves some form of transformation, something that identifies you or sets you apart, which the Bible calls sanctified. I want to close with two questions; What does it look like to live a life according to your call? And If your dreams need you to change something in your life, are you willing?