I once had to walk through a swamp with a heavy pack on my back. I stumbled at almost every step because of the muskeg, my legs chilled to the bone by ice-cold water that lurked beneath the hummocks we tried to walk on. But I had a friend with me who continually turned and encouraged me with words that made me believe I could do what had to be done. I finished that arduous trip only because I sensed he believed I could do it and it made me want to.
In Ephesians 4:1 – The Apostle Paul writes- “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” On the one hand this makes me smile and want to step forward with my head held high. On the other hand, it makes me cringe.
As Christians we have received a primary calling, to be like Jesus and to glorify Him in all things. That calling is irrevocable. And I am painfully aware that I fail to be worthy of it every day. I continually fall into sinful attitudes and thoughts. It makes me think of Paul’s cry in Romans – “oh wretched man that I am!” He too knew himself to be weak and unworthy, in his flesh, yet he also says – “Although I am less that the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ …” (Eph 3:8).
And in that I am encouraged, because the calling on my life does not depend on my worthiness. It depends only on God’s grace and that will be sufficient for the task, not so that I will succeed, not so that others will praise me, but so that the name of Christ will be exalted.
How amazing that God chooses to use us, chooses to give us a calling and the grace with which to accomplish it! Such awareness causes me to strive to do what Paul admonished the Ephesians to do – live a life worthy - worthy of the name God has bestowed on us. How amazing that even though we fail God continues to extend that calling and that grace, just as a coach continues to encourage his protégés even though they fall short of the mark.
The encouragement is in itself sustaining, because just knowing that He doesn’t give up on us keeps us going, keeps us striving, keeps us longing to live a life worthy - worthy of Him.