It's Not a Walk in the Park

Ephesians 4:1

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”

In the movie Saving Private Ryan, Captain John Miller is commissioned to save Private James Ryan, after General George Marshall receives word that Ryan’s mother will receive telegrams on the same day that three of her four sons had perished in World War II, with only one son, James, remaining. In order to spare her the anguish of losing all her boys, Miller’s mission is to rescue Private Ryan. After the bloodshed on D-Day in 1944, Miller and his men trek to find Private Ryan, escaping skirmishes and battles along the way, and losing members of their company. After Ryan refuses to go home because his desire to stay with his fellow soldiers, Miller and company face a final onslaught from the Germans. Miller gets shot, and in his last words to Ryan, who survives, says, “James…earn this. Earn it.” The movie ends with how it began, the elderly James Ryan visiting the grave of Captain Miller, seemingly pondering whether or not he lived up to that call by living a life that shows he earned the right to be saved.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1 to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” We know that in order for us to have been called, Jesus had to suffer a horrendous death to atone for our sins and bring reconciliation between God and us. However, we will never be able to earn it, or pay it back. We do not need to look at our life, as Private Ryan did, to see if we earned the right to be called children of God. John Piper says it this way, in speaking of the calling: ” This does not mean that we should try to deserve our place in God’s favor. It means that we should recognize how much our place in God’s favor deserves from us. The focus is not on our worth but on the worth of our calling.”

This word “calling” is an act of God. Romans 8:30 says that “Those whom He predestined, He also called.” This word is very familiar in the New Testament and harkens back to all that God did before the foundations of the world in choosing us to be reconciled to Him. This calling draws back to all that God has done, throughout all of history, leading to the moment where the Holy Spirit awakens your heart and says, “Come!” This is no powerless, human sort of calling. This is a command from the King of the Universe. This calling demands a response, and guarantees a response. Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of the decay of His tomb, so does the Holy Spirit call us out from spiritual death and gives us new life to respond to His call to come forward.

God knew that He could create the universe, He knew that Adam and Eve would sin, He knew that their sin would lead to a cosmic rebellion against His authority and bring death and destruction to mankind, He knew that He would bring forth His Son to bring us deliverance, He knew that we would kill His Son, He knew that He would raise from the dead, and He knew the gospel would ultimately be presented to us, so that in a dorm room, in a church service, in a Bible Study, in school, He would call you, a sinner, to Himself. He knew He would call Eliot Velazquez in a kid’s service back in 1990 to Himself. He knew He would call Eddie Leon in 1999 in a church service, to Himself. He knew He would call Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Lozano, Stephanie Melendez, David Diaz, Desiree Astacio, Ira Milton, Pamela Procter, and countless of others at CityLights and in the world, to Himself, for Himself.

This should lead to endless praise and worship of our Mighty Deliverer. When God called you, He called you “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9); He has called you “into the fellowship of His Son” (1 Corinthians 1:9); He has called you “into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12); He has called you “into His eternal glory in Christ” (1 Peter 5:10; He has called you to be “saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2), to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15), to freedom (Galatians 5:13), hope (Ephesians 1:18), holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7), patient endurance of suffering (1 Peter 2:20-21), and eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12).

Know that God, through His Son Jesus, has called you to Himself, and that although you may face your flesh, the world, and the enemy, you can walk worthily because He called you. You can walk with a God who has done that for you.