The Only Appropriate Response
I urge you to live a life worth of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1 (NIV)
Seven years ago, when I first got out of treatment, I was without a job and desperate for work. With my recent history of addiction though, I was a significant risk on which not everyone wanted to take a gamble. The clinic I’ve now been with for the last seven years did give me a chance however, and I was profoundly grateful. At the time, I felt so indebted that I would have done anything they’d have asked. If they’d have asked me to work every night and every weekend, I’d have done it. If they’d have asked me to shovel the sidewalk, I’d have grabbed my shovel and gone to work. They picked me up at the lowest point of my life and I responded accordingly.
This seems to be the kind of response that Paul asked of us in today’s passage. God has called us, loved us, forgiven us, and has saved us from ourselves. He’s given us second, third, and fourth chances. Now, he asks that we respond accordingly – by living the life for which we’ve been saved.
Just as I was grateful to my employer at the time, I was desperately thankful to God as my life began be put back together in recovery. In treatment, I promised God that I would abandon myself and follow him. As I began to do that, I saw my family and career restored. I was given another chance, which only reinforced my commitment to following God’s plan instead of my own.
As time passed and life returned to normal though, my gratitude began to wane. At work, where I once would have labored every weekend and shoveled every sidewalk, I began to want to do things my way. I’d proven that I was a good provider and I felt I deserved it. I now sometimes do the same thing with God. Where I was once desperate to abandon me to follow his will, as life has returned to normal, I’ve found myself naturally drifting back to following my way.
The appropriate response to God that Paul called us to though, wasn’t something we did only once, years ago. It’s a new and permanent way of life. I urge you to live a life worth of the calling you have received. God has saved us, now we must respond in the only appropriate manner, by living the life that he’s asked of us – daily following him and loving those around us – for the rest of our lives.