October 29, 2020 by Daniel Diffey, PhD
This fall the College of Theology welcomed the Barnabas Pastoral students to campus. These students are here in pursuit of their calling to pastoral ministry. Part of this program includes the students participating in a Pastorem Shepherding Group, which are designed to help students consider various aspects of pastoral ministry, including their calling. This semester my group is focused on looking at the calling of all Christians. It is not just pastors that are called to live a certain way, but all Christians are called to walk in love towards God and others in this broken world.
Christians are Called to Walk in Love
The New Testament shows that it is not only pastors that are called to live godly lives, all Christians have this calling. In Ephesians 4:1 Paul urges the church in Ephesus “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (ESV). He describes this calling as being walked out “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 4:2-3).
Christians are Called to be Different than the World
There are several other texts that speak to this Christian calling. Romans 12 talks about not being like the world, but being transformed to do the will of God. This transformation is one that God works in us by His grace through faith and we are to live it out by thinking soberly. What does sober thinking look like? It looks like seeing the world how it really is. The world is lost and broken and thinks that its problems can be fixed by being stronger, and louder, and meaner. But Paul tells the church to think differently and he writes that Christians should not think of themselves too highly and to let their love be genuine. Paul’s description of this life is to do things like hating evil and holding “to what is good” (Romans 12:9). It looks like trying to “outdo one another in showing honor” and being “constant in prayer” (12:11, 12).
Christians are Called to be Peaceable
Paul describes what it looks like to live in a world where there is disunity, clamor, and all sorts of brokenness. He tells his fellow believers to, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:14-18). This is a high standard and one that is not possible apart from the grace of God in the Gospel. It is also a standard that we all will fall short of, but here too we have God’s grace as we ask Him for forgiveness in our failings.
How Will You Respond to this Calling?
All Christians are called to live out a life of love, humility, and peace. This is true of Christians who pursue ministry as well as those who pursue vocations in education, nursing, engineering, business, fine arts, and many more. What would our campus and our city look like if we lived this calling out today? Today be in prayer to our great God about how you can walk in love towards others. Think about how you can show honor to someone today, how you can bless someone who has been difficult to you in some way, and how you can be at peace with others. Pray for the grace of God to be able to live in this manner.
Dr. Diffey serves as Professor of Old Testament in GCU’s College of Theology and Grand Canyon Theological Seminary. He has his BA in History, completed an MDiv in Christian Ministry, and earned a PhD in Old Testament before becoming a professor. His interests are in the area of Old Testament and biblical theology. He is married to Anne and has three children.
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