Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
In our study of the life of David last Sunday, we saw that God is more concerned about the kind of people we are becoming than the particular things we do. That is part of the reason why some 20 years passed from the time David was anointed as king until he actually began to rule as king; there was a lot of personal growth he had to undergo if he were to be a godly king.
Of course, God does have things for all of us to do – in the church, in our families, in our places of work, in the world, and those obviously are important. But even more important is that we be growing into Christ-like people. The Apostle Paul emphasized this in Eph. 4:1-2: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Paul is not simply suggesting we live a life worthy of the calling we have received from God. No, he urges his readers to live a life worthy of our calling from God. That Paul urges us tells us that this is extremely important for us as followers of Jesus.
What then does it look like to live out our calling from God? When we think of our calling, what first comes to mind for us are likely the things we should do as Christians. We may think of things such as evangelism, working for biblical justice, promoting biblical values in the wider culture, using our gifts to strengthen the church, etc. And certainly, those are all important matters. But that is not where Paul begins.
Paul jumps right to our character – who we are rather than what we do. He urges us to live a life worthy of our calling by being humble, gentle, and patient, all the while bearing with one another in love. Humility, gentleness, patience, and loving forbearance are not the kinds of things that typically get us all excited, especially in the context of God’s calling on our lives. We would rather gravitate toward those things that clearly advance the Kingdom of God. But our calling begins with our character.
Next week I will continue in this vein by speaking about why Christ-likeness is so important. For now, let me encourage all of us to pray that God will help us grow in these qualities of Christian character, and commit ourselves, through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, to nurture these in our day to day lives.
Grace and peace,