Are you confused about your calling? Asking yourself if you have one? Is it real? Well, don’t feel alone. Many followers of Jesus have the same dilemma.
Gleaning some specifics from a paper by Robert and Pamela Crosby, on staff at Southeastern University, may help dispel some of the clouds of confusion.
First, they looked at how the Word uses the term call or calling. In one way, when we agree to follow Jesus, we are accepting a “call” – a call to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. But to us individually, the call is a special, divine task given by God for His plan. It will require total commitment and total obedience.
But the confusion comes in, says the Crosbys, at the point of our spiritual vision becoming mixed with our personal dreams and ambitions. And the purpose of a “divine call” is not something we can dream up; rather something God places within us. It is personal, but bigger than the person. It comes out of who we are, and it shapes who we become. It has both “being” and “doing” involved.
In Christianity Today, Natasha Robinson writes that a calling clearly has two stages or steps. First, answer the call. Second, receive the commission. Or, hear God say accept my will then get blessed with a calling. The disciples are a good example: they accepted God’s will to follow Jesus. Then they became apostles.
How can you tell where God is calling you? “God begins the process,” holds Robinson, “with an alignment. First, God brings conviction on our hearts through circumstances that propel action. Then He takes our experiences, both good and bad, and aligns us in the right place at the right time.”
Once convicted , the anointing comes in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who breathes into us the passion for the mission. A true calling is totally dependent on abiding in Christ. If it is self-generated or self-contained, it is not real. A true calling requires God not only to jump start a calling, but His presence must sustain it.
Let’s look at some examples from scripture:
Abraham (Gen. 12:1) was called to come out of his idolatrous family. His assignment was salvation for all families. Moses (Ex. 3:1) was called out of his desert exile. God’s purpose was that he deliver the Israelites from bondage. Gideon (Judges 6:11) was called to lead. He needed assurance but did defeat the Midianites.
Ruth (Ruth 2:18) was called to obey Naomi. Her obedience led to a divine appointment with Boaz. She was blessed to be in the Messiah’s bloodline. Peter, Andrew, James and John (Mt. 4:18-21) readily accepted Jesus’ call to follow Him. They were fishermen who became Fishers of Men. Paul (Acts 9:15) after his Damascus Road call, went on to write most of the New Testament.
The Crosby’s suggest we keep in mind the following when seeking your call:
1. The call for the Christian is primarily into a relationship with Jesus first. Your ministry flows from that commitment.
2. Pay attention to your God-given desires. Ask yourself what is it that God has put into your heart to do.
3. Listen to the advice of Christian leaders, parents and pastors.
4. Do not assume that your personal dream is your call.
If you have accepted God’s call, know that God has created you for His purpose; know that God has equipped you to perform that assignment; and, know that God will be glorified by your good works (Eph. 2:10)