There is a phrase that Paul writes in today’s text that can sound hard for us at first, very scary for us at first, but is a true word, and something that we need to hear. Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 4: 1-6:
1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
It is the phrase, “a life worthy of the calling” that can get us. When I hear that I think, goodness. I can’t do that. I am not good enough. I’m not perfect enough. I can’t measure up that. So, why bother? Why even try when I know that I can’t do it?
But here’s the cool thing about what Paul tell us. Look at how we are supposed to live – with humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with love, maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is like Wesley taught us, holiness is not perfect action, holiness is perfect love!
That’s what God desires for us, that perfect love. That’s so much easier than perfect action. Cool, that is taken care of…..
Except that it is not. Perfect love is not a checklist. Perfect love is a condition of the heart. And perfect love is not something that we can “do” by ourselves. It is something that only God’s grace working through us can do. It is a surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing God to change you, from the inside out.
In many ways, a checklist is easier. A checklist is just marking things off a list. A life worthy of the calling is a life defined by grace, by mercy, by love, all marked by a transformed heart, empowered by God’s grace.
It is not something we “do.” It is something, or rather, someone, we become.
Perfect love enables us to not just put up with those that disagree with us but love them.
That is something that the world needs, but only comes from the Spirit of God. Today, seek after that life. Seek after that spirit. Seek after that love. In a world that is loud and angry and arrogant, seek love. Seek peace. Seek grace.
And when we do that, we are living a life worthy of that calling. And when we do that, God can change the world, through us.