Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: If you weren’t living under a rock in 2001, you would have seen, or at least heard about, the movie The Princess Diaries. The movie follows a young high school girl, Mia, being raised by her mother in San Francisco. Mia is living out her typical awkward teenage years when she is rudely interrupted by a surprise. Turns out she’s a princess of a country she’s never even heard of. I’ll spare you the teenage rom-com details and get to the point . . .
Her grandmother comes to town and begins to teach her how to behave as a royal. The way she dresses, speaks, and carries herself must drastically change for her to be taken seriously as a member of this illustrious family. She is taught to walk properly and not shuffle her feet, and reminded to sit up straight and not slouch.
If I were Paul, I would be advising this young girl to “walk in the manner worthy of the calling to which she has been called.” Much like Princess Mia, we have been awakened from our everyday lives and told we are royalty—sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe.
Anyone with a phone, TV, or pair of eyes has become aware of Prince Harry’s marriage to American actress Meghan Markle. All eyes have been on the couple, dissecting everything about their relationship from the amount of public affection they show to their clothing to where they will be spending Christmas. Almost daily analysis of their body language plagues our tabloids and cell phone screens. Unless you had watched the TV series Suits you probably would have had no idea who this Meghan girl even was until she married into the royal family. When she married Prince Harry, her life calling changed. The way she behaves in public matters. The words she speaks matter. The length of her hemline matters. She is no longer just holding up her own name and reputation, but that of the entire royal family.
We too uphold the name of the Royal Family. But in this section of Ephesians, we see that our calling is more than just proper waves and hemlines. It is about the character of our hearts overflowing into our everyday lives. We have been called to walk in love and unity.
Recalibrate: In what ways are “all eyes on you?” Maybe those watching you are your kids, your colleagues, your classmates . . .
Respond: Ask God for a tangible reminder of your “calling” today.
Research: Read “Do You Feel Like You’re Always Being Watched?”
Remember: “Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head” (Ephesians 4:15 , CEV).
Jessyka Dooley is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, leading Live Wonder (ages 0-3), Live Adventure (ages 4-11), and Live Purpose (ages 12-17), along with their supporting ministries. She grew up in Washington State and has a degree in theology from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jessyka has served in various areas of ministry, but her passion for discipling kids has taken center stage in her career.
There is nothing better than being held in a big cuddle by the one who loves you the most. In this letter from Paul, he explains how he is a prisoner for the Lord. No matter how bad Paul’s circumstance were, his focus was on the fact that God held him close in His arms of love. Know that you are your little one’s best cuddle. No matter what is going on around you both, live in the same place Paul did, Safe in the arms of Jesus, confident that God has got you both.
Have you ever been sent on a time out? A time out is when you are separated from everyone else because of something (usually naughty) you have done. Our text for this week opens with Paul saying that he is a prisoner for the Lord. Paul has been put on a very serious time out because he will not stop talking about the love of Jesus. In his time out, Paul takes time to write a whole bunch of letters to different churches encouraging them to live love. Read Romans 4:1-16 and list the words Paul uses to describe how people who love Jesus should live.
There’s a song by All Sons and Daughters called “Higher” and it talks about how it is easy to hold on to who we are and never let God change us from the inside. The chorus goes like this, “You have called me higher, you have called me deeper, and I’ll go where you will lead me Lord.” I find that it is easy to hold on to who I am and not live the life God is calling me to live. It’s not always easy or comfortable. In Ephesians 4, Paul says that we need to be humble and patient with one another, “making allowance for each other’s faults.” Forgiving people, even when we seem to have every right to be justified in our hurt and pain, is hard. But that’s what Jesus calls us to do. We are told that our anger is justified, and it is even encouraged by society to seek revenge against those who wrong us. But Jesus has called us to a higher place. He has called us to a deeper place. And when we embrace Christ’s forgiveness, we can forgive in seemingly impossible situations. Is there a grudge you have been holding? Is there someone in your life whom you need to forgive? If so, spend some time seeking God and asking Him what you can do to make the relationship right.