This is the first post in the Verse Study Series. Today we’re going to look at Ephesians 4:1-3.
The letter to the Ephesians is a favorite of many believers. Written in approximately 60 A.D., Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus while imprisoned for the Gospel in Rome. His aim was to strengthen them and encourage them to live for Christ.
Even today, this epistle encourages us by explaining our position with God. The letter admonishes to do as Ephesians 4:1 says: Live in a manner worthy of the calling of God.
At the end of chapter 3, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers. His main prayer is for them to know the depths of Christ’s love as well as the work of God’s power within them. It is in response to this that Paul writes Ephesians 4:1-3:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
The text urges us—calls, summons and admonishes us—to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. So what does it mean to walk worthy?
What It Means to Walk Worthy
The word walk from the Greek means to live, to regulate or conduct one’s life and self. It speaks of making due use of opportunities.
Second, the word worthy refers to living in a godly manner. The calling referred to speaks of God’s invitation to embrace what He has done for us in salvation. Essentially, this verse tells us:
I urge you to embrace the invitation God gave when He saved you by living for Him. Seek to honor Him in every way and at every opportunity.
This is how we should live in response to what Christ has done for us. What a beautiful invitation He has given us!
Calling does not mean doing certain assignments for the Lord only. Calling includes this, but living godly lives is the main aspect—even in the mundane, daily activities of life.
Walking worthy should affect our thought life, attitudes, words and actions. We want to live as vessels who honor God. To walk worthy means to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It means we love others, choose patience, stay faithful and seek goodness.
Living this out includes loving our neighbors as ourselves. We want to love others in a way that honors the Lord. Neighbor includes even those in our community who may not be like us. It even includes people we just plain don’t like.
So not easy, right? But they are still those we are called to love.
Tasks we follow the example of Christ, we are called to humbly lay down our own desires and rights for others as Jesus did for us.
How often have we seen—especially in America—a very different version of Christianity? In some circles, believers even strive for their rights in ways that damage their Christian witness. Yikes!
This is very opposite what Christ and His Word commands us. As Luke 9:23 says, we are to instead deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus. Jesus did not fight for His or His followers’ rights, He laid down His life even unto death on the Cross. He did so for the sake of all who would come to Him, that they may receive salvation and the forgiveness of sins.
So walking worthy even extends to being good citizens of our communities as we seek to love our neighbors as God commands us. This includes things such as helping the poor or the simple act of voting.
(An aside: I myself struggle when it comes to voting. Because no political party’s plans or ideals honor God completely, it is challenging. Do we do a pro/con list and vote for the lesser of two evils? Do we not vote at all? Eep! That said, I recently read a book that speaks to this issue: Thou Shall Not Be a Jerk by Eugene Cho. I don’t get any kind of incentive for sharing it; nonetheless, I recommend that every believer read it with a prayerful heart.)
What Walking Worthy Encompasses
Here are a few things to focus on when seeking to live in response to all that God has done for us.
Walking worthy includes seeking to honor God in the following areas:
- Our thought life and our attitudes.
- The words we say and how we say them.
- The things we do or do not do and the manner in which we do them.
- Our consideration of others and expressing Christ’s love to them.
Check out more from the Verse Study Series.
Finally, here are three related verses for further study:
Philippians 1:27: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”*
Colossians 1:9-11: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy”
1 Thessalonians 2:12: “we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
Father God, we acknowledge Your call to walk worthy. Help us do our part to live godly lives—in our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions. Forgive us for when we have failed to walk worthy. Give us grace to follow the example of Your Son. We thank You for how Jesus gave His life for us. We are grateful that He cleanses us from sin and empowers us to walk worthy. In this we display Your love to others and glorify Your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Check out more from the Verse Study Series.