How do you walk worthy of your calling?
After years of unemployment, dead-end internships, and a failed business (that’s my post-college story in a nutshell), it still amazes me that God was leading me to something purposeful. 15 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be writing, teaching, crafting, and creating like I am now… but, here we are!
Isn’t it amazing, how God calls each of us to a unique purpose? Certainly, as believers in Christ, we are all called to love God + love people. But beyond that, we each have individual circumstances, gifts, talents, and life experiences that uniquely equip us to do what God has called us to do.
And, even when we think we know what we should be doing with those gifts, God always knows better!
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What Does it Mean to Walk Worthy of Your Calling
What do you consider YOUR calling to be? Whether it’s just loving your neighbors, a career goal you’ve had since childhood, or a life purpose only discovered after years of searching, it’s so important to walk worthy of your calling. As the Apostle Paul stated at the beginning of Ephesians chapter 4:
I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
Think of it this way: if God called you to do something, you’d want to do a good job of it, right? You want to walk in a manner worthy of your calling because doing so will bring glory to God, and serve your neighbors well.
But, then, what exactly does it mean, to “walk worthy” of the vocation you’re called to? What does God’s Word have to say about it?
Looking at the Amplified version of Ephesians 4:1, this is how it explains the original (Greek) meaning of Paul’s words:
So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation] Ephesians 4:1 (AMP)
So, walking worthy of your calling simply means exhibiting godly character, morals, integrity, and behavior. Paul is saying that we need to conduct ourselves in a way that shows we are called by God, and living by His standards—not the worlds’.
How to Walk Worthy of Your Calling
Still, though, you might be asking… What exactly does that look like in real life? What should you be doing each day to walk worthy of your calling?
To answer that question, we’re going to take a deeper dive into Ephesians 4:1-7, plus a few other Scriptures which also talk about living out your God-given purpose.
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. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-7 (NLT)
1 – Be Humble
Ephesians 4:2 starts off by telling us to “Always be humble…” And I think it’s no mistake that Paul began with this godly character trait, as it would be so easy for us to get a “big head” on the way to fulfilling our calling.
Have you ever been tempted to look down on someone else’s calling as somehow “lesser than” your own? It would be so easy for a big-time preacher to look down on the humble church secretary, or for a missionary overseas to think that their job is somehow more important than a person back home who has a desk job and simply shines the light of Christ at work.
I know I’ve done this myself… thinking my calling (as a Christian blogger) is so much more special than the Christian who is being the light of Christ as a school custodian, or the believer who humbly serves the Lord as a manager at the local fast-food restaurant.
That’s why humility is so important, to live a life worthy of the Lord! No doubt, God calls each person to a unique time, place, and purpose, and like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:18-22, each member of the body of Christ is equally important.
The toes may not get the recognition that the eyes and mouth do, but without toes, how could the body keep walking without losing balance and falling over? That’s why we should remain humble, and consider every person to be just as purposeful and essential as we ourselves are.
2 – Be Gentle
Verse 2 also says we should “be gentle”. A gentle person is one who is kind, even-tempered, and pleasant to be around. Yes, in order to walk worthy of your calling, gentleness is definitely essential!
Imagine how kind and gentle Joseph was, in all his dealings with his captors. His gentleness and integrity helped him eventually win the respect of Pharaoh, who made him second-in-command over all of Egypt (see Genesis 37-50 for Joseph’s amazing life story). God had a special purpose and plan for Joseph, and Joseph was faithful to live in a way that honored God.
Likewise, can you see how gentleness might be helpful, to make our faith in God seem more “winsome” to the people we work with? For the managers, co-workers, and others around us, seeing someone behave with a gentle nature, makes others wonder what’s different about us (Jesus!).
3 – Be Patient with Others
Continuing with the rest of verse 2, Paul says that we ought to “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” We all know that, sometimes, other folks get on our nerves, or do things that are downright hurtful to us.
But, it’s SO helpful to remember how very patient God is with you and I! And if we want to walk worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we should be patient with each other too.
Practicing patience with others can serve you well in so many ways, with business partners, bosses, volunteer helpers, and all your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a virtue that helps us look for the best in people… to be patient with them as they grow, just as we enjoy God’s patience with us in our own growth process.
4 – Live in Unity with Believers
Moving on to Ephesians 4:3-6, Paul says this:
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Now, you may remember that the first way to walk worthy of your calling, was HUMILITY. And this concept of living in unity with the body of Christ builds on that foundation.
To live in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to humbly consider them above ourselves, refrain from unnecessary judgments, and give each other grace and compassionate understanding.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
5 – Use Your God-Given Gifts Well
This next way to walk worthy of your calling is pretty straightforward, and yet often overlooked. In Ephesians 4:7, Paul says God “has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.”
So, it only makes sense that we should use these gifts and talents well!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
For example, if you have a gift of counseling or mentoring others, are you using that? Are you mentoring younger co-workers? Or perhaps volunteering as a counselor? Think about what ways you could put your gift into practice.
Or perhaps you have a raw talent for wood-crafting… have you thought about taking classes to grow those skills? Maybe there is an area of particular need that you can learn how to meet (like making wood desks for foster children, so they have a place to do homework).
And furthermore, think about how you can use your gift(s) to serve the Lord. Don’t just let it languish… if you have talents, resources, abilities, etc., ask God how you can put them to good use for His Kingdom!
Okay, so far we’ve covered Ephesians 2:1-7. For these next five points, we’ll be exploring several additional Scriptures which provide further instruction in how to walk in a manner worthy of your calling…
6 – Work as For the Lord
By extension, whatever gifts you are using, or even if you’re just mopping floors at your job, always work as for the Lord.
Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve. Colossians 3:23-24 (AMP)
I’m sure we can all say that we’ve done the exact opposite of this, at some point in our lives. It’s all too easy to cut corners, do a halfway decent job, and think “eh, it won’t really matter if this is done poorly, nobody is paying any attention”.
But, God is always watching! And truly, you never know when someone (like your boss) IS watching, and the work you do will reflect on your character and on God.
So, as the above verses say, do the work as if you’re doing it for God, because you really are. You and I can worship Him while mopping the floors, do a good job, and even if no one else notices…God does!
7 – Be Grateful at Every Point in Your Journey
Yes, I know, you hear this all the time… BE GRATEFUL! But truly, in order to walk in a manner worthy of your calling, gratitude is essential. If you’re content with where you’re at right NOW, giving thanks for current blessings, while still being hopeful about the future, that is most pleasing to God.
I’m going to bring up Joseph again here, because he’s one of my favorite Bible characters, and his life is so full of great examples. Joseph never complained about his circumstances. Instead, he endured everything from being sold into slavery by his own brothers to wrongful accusation and imprisonment. And he did it with gratitude and loyalty to God. And because of that, the Lord was with him and helped him:
[…] But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. Genesis 39:20-21
And years later, Joseph told his brothers not to berate themselves for what they had done to him, and he praised God for arranging it all to save lives!
[…] do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. […] God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Genesis 45:5, 7-8
So, as you walk worthy of your calling, be grateful for how God guides your steps! Even when it seems as though life is unfair, your purpose isn’t what you expected, or you encounter many setbacks along the way… be thankful for all the ways God cares for you in your journey, and for the long-term plans that He has for your life.
8 – Commit Everything You do to God
In my experience, working purposefully, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in my own agenda and forget to commit my work to the Lord. But to walk worthy of the vocation we’re called to, this is so important to do! No matter what kind of work or tasks you’re doing in life, commit them to the Lord.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)
But what exactly does “commit” mean? I think there are two sides to this coin: First, it means to seek God’s will in everything you do… and to follow His ways over your own. And secondly, it means to entrust whatever you do into His hands.
When you commit your plans to Him, you trust Him to take your efforts and do what is best with them—He controls the outcome.
9 – Wait Patiently for the Lord
And, after committing your way to God, and acknowledging that He’s in control of the outcome of your efforts, comes the waiting!
Let’s face it, many times in life, we simply need to wait for the Lord.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
Especially if it seems like there is some injustice (real or perceived), keep waiting for God to bring victory to your situation. Remember what Jesus said, regarding the parable of the widow who sought justice against her adversary.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. Luke 18:7-8 (NIV)
10 – Trust God to Direct Your Steps
Finally, to round out these ten ways to walk worthy of your calling, we come to the “big kahuna” that ties all these things together: TRUST GOD.
As you live out your calling of loving God and loving people and fulfilling the specific purpose God has for you, your life won’t always make sense. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever met a Christian who could say that their life always made perfect sense!
In my own life, every day seems to bring questions and uncertainties… even when I’m certain that I see the purpose in one thing, there’s always some other thing that’s got me perplexed.
But, praise the Lord that God Himself is never confused or uncertain! Jeremiah 29:11 says that He knows the plans He has for us. And so, we can always trust that our Father in Heaven is leading us where He wants us to go:
A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them. Proverbs 16:9 (AMP)
So, throughout your journey of walking worthy of your calling, remember to conduct yourself in a way that glorifies God (be humble, gentle, patient, and live in unity with fellow believers). And always strive to embody the fruits of the spirit.
We are all “ambassadors” of Christ here on earth, so how we live is so important!
Be mindful to make the most of the gifts and talents the Lord has given you because it’s those things that you can use to serve Him and further His Kingdom.
As you serve God with those gifts, always work as for Him, and be grateful for each step in your journey along the way. Don’t forget to commit your plans to Him, wait patiently for Him, and TRUST Him.
Truly, to walk worthy of your calling is a noble, yet challenging, task. Don’t become discouraged when you don’t “get it right” all in one go. God is gracious and good to help you along the way, as you learn and grow closer to Him!