Being called to hope sounds so passive, doesn’t it? Most of us would much rather be called to DO something, with given parameters and expectations we are to fulfill.
But Ephesians 4 begins this way:
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.Ephesians 4:1-6 NLT
You and I are called to the same glorious hope that Paul wrote about in his letter to the church of Ephesus so many years ago. Our hope is not aimed at something we are in competition over, nor is it a wishy-washy-maybe-it-will-happen kind of thing.
Followers of Christ have all been called to a confident expectation that the end of this life is not THE end, but merely the gateway into eternity with our Savior.
Other scriptures speak more about this hope:
“We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)” (Romans 8:23b-25)
“This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.” (Titus 1:1-2)
“We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.” (Colossians 1:3-5)
Since we are all confidently looking forward to the fulfillment of this same promise, doesn’t that mean we should all be headed in the same direction? Should our focus not be on living with a Kingdom mindset? We are all of the same Kingdom, under the authority of the same King, who has guaranteed our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14).
I don’t know about you, but knowing that God is in control of my life gives me a great deal of peace and hope! If I was in charge, what a mess I’d make of it . . .
This eternal hope that we all share should have an effect on us in this life. While we rub shoulders with one another, and at times grate on one another’s nerves, we need to keep the eternal perspective and strive toward unity. Let’s look again at what Paul wrote, this time keeping in mind the hope that we have:
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as you have been called to ONE glorious hope for the future.
There is ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.Ephesians 4:1-6 NLT
Do you see the theme of unity woven through these verses? Of course we’re not always going to agree about how everything should be done on this earth. We’ve all got different perspectives and experiences affecting how we think and feel.
But in spite of our differences, our goal should always be to grow together in humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace as we serve our one Lord, Jesus Christ, and wait for his return.