Times are changing. In my short 31 years on this earth, there have been drastic shifts in everything from politics to ethics to faith. What was once black and white or right or wrong no longer seems to have such defined and clearly drawn lines. There is an increasing amount of “gray” in our world, and with this increase, the need to cling to Jesus Christ increases all the more.
Today, one of the largest Christian charities in America went public on their shift in staff policy to allow the hiring of Christians in same-sex marriages. Not surprisingly, social media erupted with its slew of both slander and support of this decision. And a pressing question that is no doubt on the minds of many of their Christian supporters is, “And what should we do now?”
Decisions such as this are often made in the name of unity, so I thought I’d run to God’s Word and its teaching on unity, since its authority on the matter is final and ultimate. Ephesians 4:1-16 addresses unity in the body of Christ, and the apostle Paul lays the foundation of this passage in verse one where he says, “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Upon this first verse, a case is built for unity, so we have to take a deeper look at it. There is some strong language in this one short verse, and we simply can’t miss the word “urge.” There is (rightfully so) a sense of urgency in Paul’s plea to the Ephesian church to “walk worthy.” What does this mean?
The church in Ephesus would have understood the tension of following Christ in a world of filth, paganism, and compromise. One of the primary reasons that Paul wrote this letter to the church there was to address some of the false teaching they were receiving and to give them this charge to walk worthy of their calling in Christ. While the first three chapters of Ephesians primarily address Christian doctrine, the final three chapters address Christ-like behavior. So, Ephesians 4:1 “therefore” is the beginning of that shift from principle to practice. In essence, it’s one thing to have a bunch of theology, but it’s quite another to live out your beliefs.
This is where the phrase “walk worthy” comes into play. Paul is urging the Ephesian Christians by saying that their daily conduct must be consistent with their new life and position in Christ. In Christ, we have been set free from the sin and darkness that once defined us. In Christ, we are a new creation – the old is gone and the new has come. In Christ, we are called to something much higher than our own fleshly desires would crave. We are called to holiness (being set apart from the patterns of this world – 1 Peter 1:15), we are called to be humble, gentle, and patient (Ephesians 4:2), we are called to a renewed mind as we mature in Christ (Ephesians 4:13), and we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And we must remember that we don’t have to forsake one to accomplish the other. We can be loving while refusing to compromise. We can speak truth in a loving way. We can walk worthy of our calling while “being eager to maintain unity.” It’s not a “one or the other” issue. It’s both.
As this world and its ways continue to change, I will cling tighter and tighter to Jesus. Part of that cling includes our continued sponsorship of children through organizations similar to this one. I will follow Christ and not the shifting and ever changing patterns of this world. He is our hope, our salvation, and the rock on which we stand.