Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1 [NIV] – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Ephesians 4: 1 [NASB] - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, …
Ephesians 4: 1 [NKJV] - I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, …
Ephesians 4: 1 [NLT] - Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
My Journal for Today: Today we take a bit of a verbal microscope and look at one word from the highlight verse we’ve been studying this week, Ephesians 4: 1, where Paul is strongly exhorting the believers in Ephesus, and the Holy Spirit from Scripture, to walk worthy of their [our] calling as Christians. In the NIV he says, “I URGE you.” This word “urge” from the NIV is the Greek term “parakaleo,” which the NASB [see above] translates “I IMPLORE you.” From the NKJV it’s, “I BESEECH you;” and from the New Living Translation [NLT], it’s “I BEG you.” Though Paul could never have been accurately pictured as a “beggar” type of personality, in this passage, and others (see below), he was using beggar language to implore Christians to worthiness in Christ.
John MacArthur writes, and I agree, that Paul is assertively begging his fellow Christians to see what he, Paul, had come to see in the pursuit of Christlikeness. He also used “parakaleo” when he was entreating Christians to become “living sacrifices” in Romans 12: 1; or when he implored pagans in Corinth to be reconciled to God (2nd Cor. 5: 20). Paul had a driving passion for others to come to Christ and then totally surrender to God’s Spirit so that they might become all that any Christian can become in his/her walk with the Lord.
Paul wanted all believers to discover what he had discovered through all the trials he had endured. He wanted Christians (and that’s you and me today) to experience the joy of their salvation (see Ps. 51: 12) … or to have the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4: 7) … or to live in the abundance of the completeness and richness of the Christian life (John 10: 10) … or to have the power of God’s Spirit in witness (Acts 1: 8) … or to be completely fruitful for God’s Kingdom (Gal. 5: 22-23).
That’s the way I feel sometimes in the ministry into which God has led me in the role of Pastor/Shepherd. I so desperately want others, who have wallowed in habitual sin, to find the freedom I have found in Christ. At times I almost “beg” them to see the light of Christ through His word; and it grieves me when they turn from the Savior to selfishness for the answers to life’s questions; … or when they turn from Godliness to garbage for self medication. In terms of the truth of Eph. 4: 1, I’m not the Apostle Paul, for sure; but I can feel a lot of myself just wanting to shake Christians forcefully, and to say, “WHY CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO SEE!!!; or … why can’t you turn to God’s ways instead of that of the world; or … why can’t you walk worthy of the Name of Christ?!!!”
Am I the Christlike model for which I seek for others? Hardly! Even Paul called himself the worst of sinners. Certainly, I’ve got a long way to go; but like Paul to the Corinthians, I can and I will implore other Christians to follow me in a trek toward Christlikeness (see 1st Cor. 11: 1). Just as Christ has ordered me in Luke 9: 23 … to deny myself, take up His cross daily, and to follow Him. I can say, as did Paul, “You can follow me; because I follow Christ.” Of course, I’m human; and I will fail at times. The Apostle Paul did (read Rom. 7: 14 - 23). But I do beg [“parakaleo”] others (including any who read this) to follow my passion, as well as God’s teachings through Paul, so that we all become passionate in our desire to walk worthy of the calling of Christlikeness which all Christians have.
My Prayer Today: O Lord, help me as I share all You are with others. … Amen