Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
Key verse: (1) “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called . . .”
Reflection: Many people take an inventory at year end and make resolutions for the new year. Some of these resolutions involve exercise and diet or other changes that people want to make in their lives. Often, the things that we resolve to do in the new year are things we should be doing all the time, but there is something about the new year that inspires change or another try at something we have been meaning to do.
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul is begging the church to lead a life worthy of God’s call in order to build unity within the church. But, there aren’t just benefits to the church when we lead lives worthy of God’s call. How we live out our lives every day outside the walls of the church has a tremendous effect on the world around us. Our choices and our behavior tell others what we believe. Humility, gentleness and patience coupled with bearing with one another in love may not be what we are known for when we are at home, at work or on-line. It is so easy to forget who has laid claim to our lives. Each one of us has been given gifts to follow Jesus and serve God. We are called to grow up and not be tossed to and fro by anything and everything that comes our way. This is spiritual maturity – growing up into the likeness of Christ. The grace God gives each of us equips us to move out into the world sharing the light of Christ that is within us. I wonder how often we suppress this light and do whatever we please even when it hurts another person. Paul begs us to do what is right. Look around – have you noticed how angry and anxious many people are today? It is so sad to see followers of Jesus being cruel and judgmental. We are to speak the truth in love which means we honor ourselves and others by the way we speak to and treat one another. God values each person and we bear with one another in love. This doesn’t mean that we will always agree with each other, but in our disagreement we treat one another with respect. This is something that takes practice – just like making exercise and good nutrition part of your routine. We are called to a new way of life and the start of a new year is as good a time as any to make changes with God’s help. Transformation is something that God does when we make ourselves available to God and one another. My hope this new year is that we remember the one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all; and that this leads us to lead lives worthy of our calling in Christ.
Prayer: Loving God, you call us to lead worthy lives. Help us to rely on you to amend our ways. Give us willing hearts to examine our behavior in light of your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].