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, …
My Journal for Today: Well again, in John MacArthur’s Strength For Today, the author has led me to dwell on this powerful exhortation by the Apostle Paul (i.e., the repeated verse, Eph. 4: 1), which I’ve quoted today from the NIV/NASB and underlined the word picture of “the [Christian] walk” Paul seeks for believers.
Actually this word picture, referring to the “Christian walk,” is not uncommon in the New Testament. You can see it in these verses (also from the NASB – note underlined emphasis):
>>> SCRIPTURE: Romans 6: 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
>>> SCRIPTURE: 2nd John 1: 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
>>> SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Thessalonians 4: 1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.
Paul really wanted Christians with whom he had influence and contact “to walk” in Christlikeness. Read in his wonderful prayer of empowerment [from Eph. 3: 16 – 21] how Paul realized that believers would never be able to “walk” in Christlikeness unless they were energized and enabled to walk worthy by the power of God’s Spirit.
>>> SCRIPTURE: Eph. 3: 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Don’t you just love that last verse (i.e., Eph. 3: 20). Paul knew and prayed for Christians to recognize the power within them (us), i.e., the Holy Spirit, to walk worthy of our calling as Christians. But he also knew that no Christian could or would walk in this worthy manner unless he/she were fully surrendered to the God’s way/will and was fully obedient to God’s word. He knew that God’s love could only flow through the Christian whose love was surrendered to God. That is what was expressed by Jesus Himself in John 14: 21 …
>>> SCRIPTURE: John 14: 21 “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him."
What a promise! If we, as Paul desired, surrender to God’s Spirit within us, walking in obedience to Christ’s commands, Christ Himself, through His Spirit, will abide in our hearts and manifest Himself in/through us. But as MacArthur points out, that’s a conditional promise. MacArthur writes, “You (the believer) must commit everyday and every moment to the Lord, trusting in [God’s] strength.” And when we do that, we will find Christ’s light shining on our path (see Ps. 119: 105) and His strength pouring through His grace into our weakness (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9) so that we can be overcomers in this world – as was Christ (see John 16: 33).
As I’ve often asked other believers, because of what I’ve experienced myself, “Would you rather depend on your own knowledge and strength or God’s?” Duh! To me the answer here for the Christian is an absolute no-brainer. But you’ve got to answer for yourself. And then, after answering this question we have to activate the decisions which allow God’s Spirit to flow, through God’s grace, into our mind/heart so that we can/will make Godly decisions rather than flesh-driven decisions. It’s actually a very simple concept … but a very difficult application.
My Prayer Today: Lord, I rely on You! Amen