The late Francis Schaeffer titled his now famous book on Western culture and a Christian apologetic, How Should We Then Live? In light of who we are and who we represent as Kingdom leaders, how should we live? How should we lead? Paul has much to say in answer to this question in his book, Ephesians.
In Ephesians 4:1-2, Paul states, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. The exhortation to live a certain lifestyle is couched in the heavenly calling that we have received as followers of Christ. He immediately follows this contextual reminder with an exhortation on ‘being,’ not doing. Note the character qualities listed as keys to being able to live out this calling lifestyle – humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance rooted in love. The ability to live and lead a life worthy of our calling flows out of Christlike character.
Paul continues the theme on how to live the Christian life in verses 17-19 of the same chapter – “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” The wasted (futile) life is one that gives itself to sensuality and temporal pleasure.
In the following chapter, Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul encourages us to, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The mature Christian life will be marked by love in all areas. Like the love of God, it will the a sacrificial love that unconditionally accepts others.
He ends the qualities of this life we are to live with one final exhortation in Ephesians 5:8-10 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” He comes back full circle to the necessity of Christlike character in the Christlike life – goodness, righteousness, and truthfulness in all we say and do.
And now we come to the conclusion of the question we began with, “How to live a life pleasing to God?” In Ephesians 5:15-17 we read, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (NIV 1984)
May we live and lead in such a wise way, understanding the Lord’s will and seeking to please Him alone, that we hear Him say at the end of our life, “Well done good and faithful servant.”