“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).
When someone is part of a group, he or she is obligated to follow its laws or standards. American citizens are required to obey the laws of the United States. Employees must conform to the rules of their company. Athletic teams are expected to listen to their coach.
Most of us want to be part of a group because with belonging comes acceptance. This desire to conform can be quite strong, sometimes dangerously so. During Jesus’ time, “many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:42-43). Those rulers were so committed to their religious system that they damned their souls by rigidly adhering to its code.
Some people think belonging to the church is different though. They want the blessings, rights, and privileges of being a child of God, but they’re unwilling to conform to biblical standards. But God expects Christians to live a certain way. Paul told the Corinthian believers to remove from their midst all who live immorally (1 Cor. 5:1-2). In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 he says, “Keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”
Since people can join athletic teams and businesses and follow the rules, since people can be so fearful of being cast out of their society that they forfeit their souls, since people can be so devoted to things that don’t matter, shouldn’t Christians make an even greater commitment to what matters most? In Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul tells us how we can “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (v. 1). Let’s commit ourselves to obey God as we learn what He requires of us.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God to show you areas where your commitment to Him is lacking, and for help in strengthening those areas.
For Further Study
Read John 9.
• What were the parents of the man born blind most committed to?
• What effect did that commitment have on them?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,