Thursday, January 15, 2009

Called

 In Ephesians 4:1, Paul refers to himself as "the prisoner of the Lord." There are so many other things he could have called himself, as he begins this portion of Scripture.  Perhaps he could have used "godly man" or "follower of Christ" or any number of other descriptive words, but he chose to make mention of himself as the prisoner of the Lord because he was not ashamed. Paul had done nothing wrong.  His imprisonment was because he had preached the good news of Jesus Christ. God had entrusted him with the message of grace as an apostle to the Gentiles, yet he  suffered because of it.  Today when we think of prisoners and jails we think of those who are there because they have done something wrong and are being punished. Or perhaps we may think of someone being a prisoner because they feel trapped by a certain situation or set of circumstances. They don't know where to go or what to do. Paul, as a prisoner of the Lord, knew exactly what was expected of him and he did it obediently with joy and passion. Paul did not use his imprisonment as an excuse not to do God's will. He did not say, "Maybe later, when circumstances are better."  God had given Paul a message to share. Paul goes on to" implore the readers to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called."  The very fact that he implored them, shows how serious he was about his message. He had learned things in jail about priorities and life.  Paul did not merely make a suggestion, he pleaded with the Ephesians in desperation and earnestness.  He did not recommend to them that they needed to be careful or they might end up in jail, or to keep their faith to themselves. His message was "Just do it."  Paul reminded the Church of Ephesus of their calling.  We, too, have a calling from God. What a privilege and an honor to be called by our Heavenly Father!  Once we have accepted that call and said "yes" to Him, we are to take off our old life and put on a brand new life, which will be evident in the way we walk and live our lives.  This calling is not just an outward show, but an inward change of motives and purposes.  If there is some "prison experience" we are in right now, let's not let it stop us from serving our God wholeheartedly.  We are not in an actual jail cell, but we may be experiencing pain, separation, or confusion that makes us feel like we are locked up and can't move forward.  We may be going through some really rough times emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, relationship- wise, but we can still walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. His Spirit is within us to help us and lift us up each step of the way. We no longer are under bondage to the flesh and self, but God has set us free to serve Him. Our lives must change to bring Him glory. It is important for us to remember our calling to a Godly lifestyle, and pursue it daily.  My prayer for myself is that I will take these words of Paul to heart and not be ashamed or afraid to walk as God has called me to do. I pray that I will relinguish any thing in my life that causes me to feel "locked up" and may be causing me not to walk in a manner which I have been called. May I give it up, hand it over, let go of it and follow the call of God for my life.  I pray the same for you all as well. Amen!

Learning to Trust God . . . In My Calling . . . One Day at a Time

Carla

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