EVERYONE IS C.A.L.L.E.D: Six Keys to Unlocking Your Calling
By Dr. Terrence W. Smith
Have you ever asked yourself questions like, "Am I meant to do something more with my life? Am I bored, dissatisfied and unhappy with my job or current life status? Do I long for something else-- something more fulfilling than what I am doing now?"
If you have been asking these questions, maybe you need to consider a new "calling," or put more commonly, a new vocation. It has been wisely concluded that "if you love your job (calling) you will never work a day in your life."
There is more than one type of calling, especially for Christians. In the Bible we are told that Believers are called to salvation, spiritual growth, suffering and service, but most of the time we struggle with the specific service God is calling us to. It is no wonder that it is so difficult for us, since we have so many options, and so many enemies--the world (rebellious mankind), human nature (rebellious selfishness) and spiritual darkness (rebellious spirits-Satan and demons).
To make this easier, we must seek God in prayer and study of the Bible, which is His "word" to us. The Bible records several characteristics of God's calling that are helpful in understanding it.
God's Call Is Obvious Matthew 4:18-22 recounts the first calling of the disciples by our Lord Jesus, where He approached Peter and Andrew and spoke to them clearly and authoritatively. How do we know this? We know it because of their response--they obeyed Him immediately! When God calls us it should be unmistakable.
God Will Call You When You Are Giving Your Best Effort In Your Present Situation Acts 9 records that this was true with the conversion of Saul, where Jesus called him to apostolic service. We find that Paul was striving to serve God to the best of his ability and power (partly by eliminating what he saw as the Christian cult). Jesus knew Paul's real passion was to please God, so He stopped him on his way to Damascus and confronted him, calling him to preach and suffer for His sake. Paul was busy serving God when Jesus called.
God Will Call In His Time Certainly Paul and Ananias were surprised at God's timing when he contacted them. Saul and his companions must have been shocked at Jesus' appearance on the road in front of them in the middle of their trip. Saul lost his sight and they lost their voices. The timing was so completely unexpected! Ananias questioned the Lord because of Saul's recent persecution of the saints and was probably struggling with his specific call, yet he was obedient. For us, God is full of surprises--He is far above our human condition and level of understanding, "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 9 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8).
God Will Often Call Through Mature Believers Ananias was informed by the Lord in a vision that Saul would be His "chosen instrument" to carry His name "before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Ananias was God's man to help Paul see with both his eyes and his soul. Proverbs 15:22 reminds us that a person with many counselors is wise and chapter 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Listen to the godly people around you, like Paul listened to Ananias.
God Will Call In Worship We find in Acts 13:2 that the Holy Spirit spoke directly to the worshiping believers about Paul and Barnabas' calling: "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'" All believers are called to minister to the Lord (praise, prayer, offerings, etc.) and should be doing so faithfully, and to minister for the Lord (discipling, caring, witnessing). If we are busy serving and worshiping, God will call us there.
God Want To Use Your Gifts And Skills There are at least twenty-one gifts mentioned in five different passages of Scripture 1 and countless skill sets described throughout it. There must be something in these lists that you and I are to use for God's Kingdom work! Romans 12 (and 1 Corinthians 12-14) teaches that believers are part of a body (v. 5) possessing different gifts for each other's benefit (v. 6; 1 Corinthians 12:11). The Lord also told the Church in Corinth (Corinthians 13) that His gifts are to be motivated by and exercised in love (v. 31) and they are worthless if not so used (vv. 1-4).
THE SIX KEYS
The Bible and Christian experience provide at least six keys to unlock your calling. When you are C.A.L.L.E.D, you will have:
Conviction Of God's Will To Do Something. You possess an inner passion, desire and sense of anointing for a task. God may call you personally through; His word (the Bible) as you study it and pray about it, His Spirit as He ministers to yours (remembering that the Holy Spirit's weapon is the Bible, (Eph. 6:17), instruction from His servants (preachers and teachers), and less commonly, a visit from one of His messengers (angels) and visions and dreams.
Awareness Of Your Wiring. This means you should know the way you think and act, your gifts (natural and spiritual), talents (abilities and resources), and personality style (the way you interact with others).
Leadership Counsel And Approval. Like Christ's call and approval of His disciples in Matthew 4:19-22, and of the Apostle Paul after the resurrection in Acts 9. Or Paul's exhortation to Timothy and future disciples in 2 Timothy 2:2, and church leaders in Ephesians 4:11-13. Further, the Bible uses the terms elder, shepherd and overseer interchangeably, revealing an ordained authority of pastors to teach and lead with the guidance of the Bible and the Holy Spirit.
Lasting Desire And Commitment To Something. If God is at work in your desire to serve Him in a specific way, the passion for it will not soon leave you.
Energy And Fulfillment Experienced By Doing A Certain Work. You find yourself satisfied and joyful with the tasks you have completed. You come away feeling like your work has had value for the Kingdom of God.
Done The Work Already. You've come to realize that you have been involved in the specific work all along, maybe as a hobby or just for the fun of it. So why not continue what you enjoy doing as an occupation? Don't you really want to "never work another day in your life?"
ONE NOTE OF CAUTION: without leadership approval and counsel, our view of our calling can be entirely
self-sided! Please remember, God's will for us is not about us! It is about Him--obedience and service is what matters most; "So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." (Ephesians 5:17-21)