I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, -Ephesians 4:1
The Apostle Paul called himself a prisoner for the Lord and then tells other followers of Jesus to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. He found his calling as a prisoner to be a high calling. When I think of being a prisoner, I don’t think of it as a high calling. Why did he?
I met a woman who was a prisoner in a federal prison. I’ll call her Vanessa. Vanessa would not consider being a prisoner to be a high calling either, but she would understand exactly what Paul was saying in this passage.
As a prisoner in the federal prison, Vanessa had very little independence. She ate when food was served, she wore the clothes she was told to wear, she followed the rules set up by the prison and obeyed the demands of the prison guards. Being a prisoner, to Vanessa, was not a high calling and it did not require much besides obedience for her to walk in a manner worthy of it. She just did everything she was told.
Vanessa was, however, the kind of prisoner that Paul was, too. She was a prisoner for the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a prisoner who had a higher calling. And, in that way she walked in a manner worthy of the calling to which she was called. The Lord was her King and her Ruler. Vanessa gave her life to Christ, shared his love with her fellow inmates, and told them about the Good News that is in Him alone. She used every opportunity she could to show off the hope she had in Jesus to the hopeless people that surrounded her.
Vanessa was in prison in this world but she was not truly imprisoned, she was free. She was, in fact, freer than most people who have never stepped foot in a prison. She knew that she was a child of the Most High God. Her Father was the King. She saw her Father’s love and His hand of protection in the prison in which she lived. She recognized the Holy Spirit’s transformation of her from a woman of anger and violence to a woman of kindness and wisdom, and she gave Him all the credit.
Many of us feel the confinement of our situations. We feel like a prisoner of the society in which we live, or of our finances, or even of the way we look. My friend Vanessa has shown us that the worldly prisons we might find ourselves living in do not have to be prisons at all. Our calling is higher than our worldly circumstances. Our calling is what God has called us to; to be His child and represent His image to the world. It’s who we are as Christ-followers, and that is a worthy calling. It’s the calling Paul is urging us to walk in.