Worthy Living

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 23, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

I have been reading through Paul’s letters recently and one theme caught my attention: “Living worthy of God.” I first heard this at the 2006 Urbana Convention. The speaker was quoting the NIV of Ephesians 4:1. So when I was reading through Ephesians again, I came across this verse and remembered the speaker talking about that passage. But then I continued through Paul’s letters and I saw the same message again in Colossians 1:10 and then again in 1 Thessalonians 2:12. I had not seen this theme before and it stood out. When Scripture says something, we need to listen. When it says it three times, that is a hint of taking it even more seriously.

What does it mean to have worthy living? What does it look like to live worthy of God? Worthy of the calling of God? First, before anyone accuses me of talking about a “works-based salvation,” this is not talking about salvation. Too many people when arguing Scripture ask, “Is this important to salvation?” and then follow up with “If not, then it is not important.” This mindset is a problem because it completely ignores what these passages are talking about. Christianity is not about just getting saved and that is all there is to it.

Being born again is a crucial aspect of Christianity and I am not trying to disregard or diminish it. But this is just the beginning of Christianity, not the end of it all. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could get saved and live our own lives. He died for much more than that. Salvation is when we are born again, but that leaves us as babies in our faith. God does not want spiritual babies. He wants spiritual adults, mature sons and daughters who can work his Kingdom business. There is nothing wrong with being a spiritual baby, but there is something wrong with STAYING a spiritual baby.

So again, what does living a life worthy of the calling of Christ mean? And what does it look like? First, what is our calling of Christ? Every born again believer has a job that God has for us to do. Paul talks about this in Ephesians 2:10. There are works, jobs, which God has prepared for us. He created each and every one of us with a set of gifts and talents. My post last week talks about how we need to work as a unit. In Romans 12:3-8, Paul addresses seven primary spiritual gifts. What are these gifts for? Put the Ephesians and Romans verses in this paragraph together. In Ephesians, Paul tells us there are works God has planned for us to do. In Romans, Paul tells us about these gifts. It is clear: God gives us these gifts so that we are capable of doing these works.

Now cut over to Matthew 25 and look at the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, a rich man gave three servants a certain amount of money, each according to their ability. To one he gave five talents, another he gave two, and another he gave one. The first two servants worked their gifts and doubled them. The third servant hid his gift and returned it unused. The man took his talent and gave it to the one who now had ten talents.

There are several things to note here. The talents were given in according to the servant’s abilities. He did not give a large responsibility to the servant who could not handle it. He also gave the one with a lot of skills the responsibility for handling more. Now here is a thought: the third servant was cursed for not using his one talent. What would have happened if the first servant had only used four of his talents and kept one hidden to himself like the third servant did? Just chew on that thought. This parable shows us the answer to this post’s key question.

We are to live our live worthy of what God has called us to be. This is simply a matter of using what God has given us and being obedient to how he wants us to use our gifts. The man did not directly give instructions to the servants, but they were servants who were trained to do their job. They knew what they were supposed to do with their resources.

God is our provider, and as a good manager he will never give us a task without also giving us sufficient resource to get the job done.* Yes, I put that asterisk there on purpose because there is a disclaimer. That disclaimer is that those resources do NOT solely reside within us. We CANNOT do this in our own strength. We must depend on God himself providing what it takes to do it, and when we carry out God’s plan our response should be, “We are but unworthy servants. We have only done that which we ought.” Living a life worthy of the calling is not about you. It is about God. All we need to worry about is to believe God and obey him. That’s it.

Let me give you a list of recent names of those who have lived the life worthy of the calling. You won’t hear about these people in the media or the major news headlines. You won’t find their names on historical monuments. But you will find them on a list of those whom God has written to have great honor because they were obedient servants. I have heard of their stories, read about some of them, and plan to learn about them in more detail soon. This list includes: J. Hudson Taylor, Reece Howels, CT Studd, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Bruce Olsen, Dom Richardson, William Booth, David Wilkerson and more. These are great modern missionaries and preachers that have changed the world because of their obedience to God’s callings. Most of us would hear of these men and women and be quick to admit that we are not worthy even to carry their suitcases, let alone tie their shoes. But why can’t we be on this list? In Eric Ludy’s book “Wrestling Prayer,” he writes about David’s Mighty Men and calls them a generation of the Holy Gibborim (or Mighty Men). Ludy describes the spectacular efforts David’s men did in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11. And throughout this book, Ludy asks, “In how we do our spiritual battles, why can’t we be like David’s Mighty Men in their physical battles?” Good question. Why can’t we? Here is the primary answer: because we don’t believe it will work.

Can we live worthy of the calling? Yes we can. The question is: Will we? Will we live worthy of the calling? Remember that doing so is not about boasting in ourselves. It is simply about obedience. Let us practice this more and strive to reach this place of humble service, doing that which we are asked to do, and being someone God can trust to get the job done. Can God trust you? Can he trust me? This is our chance to show him that he can trust us to listen and obey without question or reserve or doubt. It’s not about you, but doing what he wants done. That is living a life worthy of the calling.

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