Devoted to your Calling
This week’s guest post has been written by Joe Williams. Joe leads the Jubilee Bible School team.
I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word ‘calling’. Perhaps you are stirred to get up and do something to make sure you are ‘answering your call’? Or maybe you’re a little depressed because you don’t ‘feel called’? Or maybe you don’t have much of a reaction at all…
All of these are understandable responses when we encounter calling, given it is a theme that lacks prominence in contemporary western Christianity. But I believe calling is a powerful concept that can be transformative when we grasp its awesome dimensions. On top of this, it’s a deeply biblical idea, so we should definitely pay it some attention!
There is so much to say, exult in, debunk and examine regarding calling that we cannot cover in a single post, so I want to zoom in on the heart of calling. And this can be quite simply summed up in two words – ‘come’ and ‘go’.
Come and Go
The ‘come’ expresses the simple yet essential truth that all are called by God to know him, treasure him, worship him and surrender our all to him. If we frame calling primarily as anything but this coming to God we go wrong very quickly and lose all the power of calling. We can all grasp hold of our calling by pursuing God, pursuing holiness and setting the first concern of our heart on divine relationship.
Only once we are resting in God can we move onto ‘go’, which is the truth that we are all called to live out our lives to the glory of God in the world. Within this aspect of calling there remains things that are true for all of us – for example we are all called to live lives of love, compassion and willingness to confess our faith. But there are some things that are unique to each individual.
Our unique calling
It’s these ‘unique’ things that we often start with and get caught up in, which often leads to confusion and disillusionment when we can’t see ‘our call’ working out in reality. As we’ve already considered, the problem is that we’re not rooting our specific outward working of our call to our primary call to God. But when we do start from that place, the truth that God has created each of us as unique individuals with a unique mission for his kingdom becomes an exciting and empowering truth, as it is rooted in his power and sovereign story and not our own efforts to define ourselves.
Finding your unique calling
So spend time with God getting some clarity on what the specifics may be. This could be a long journey of slow realisation or a sudden dawning of your missional purpose. Both are fine – again, He’s in control of our stories! But if we ignore calling entirely we risk losing something powerful that God has for us, missing out on the drive that God-ordained purpose brings.
If you want to explore calling in more depth I highly recommend getting a copy of Os Guinness’ ‘The Call’ (available on Kindle or printed) which explores various aspects of calling and helps the reader on their own journey of stepping into their call.
Called according to His purpose
To finish let’s consider Romans 8:28 – “and we know that in all things God is working good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It is rightly a much loved and much quoted verse, but how easy it is to rest in the first part of the promise and miss the reference to calling! Yet being called by God is the objective, rock-solid truth that guarantees all of his magnificent promises to us, including his promise to work all things to our good in this verse. This in turn gives us the boldness to live out our calling in the world.
When we see calling in such a light I hope you agree it really is time we recover it as a central concept in our churches and in our own journeys with God!
Thank you Joe for this excellent post. Joe speaks on Devoted to Your Calling in more depth on this Podcast.