What is my calling?
Whether you are a Christian or not, you have probably, at some point, struggled with the big questions of life such as “what is the meaning and purpose of life” – which you may then have personalized to “what is my destiny and calling in life?”
Some people seem to have a clear “calling:”
- The apostle Paul had a clear calling to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:15, 16).
- Jeremiah was called as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
- Hudson Taylor – called to evangelize China
- Mother Theresa – to work among the extremely poor in Calcutta.
The whole of their lives immersed in this thing that they felt compelled to do.
Yet, most believers feel defeated by the ordinariness of their lives. They feel that they have missed the mark and maybe even that God is disappointed in them!
But why are we so obsessed with “having an impact,” “being significant” or “making a difference?”
This question must be asked:
Am I seeking my own glory or the glory of God?
A different perspective – Life as a Journey
What feels truer to me is that I see life as a journey – involving a process of growth – and of discovery.
The journey begins when I hear God calling me and I say “yes” to Jesus. Yes to the grace of God – so necessary because it is so impossible that I would live this holy life that I am called to, all on my own strength.
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:9
So begins my daily journey of grace. Daily obedience – daily prayer – daily love – daily faith – lead to daily discovery of who I am in Christ and how that relates to this world that I live in.
There are hills and valleys on this journey, as you well know, but there is an end destination and when we reach that end, we will be fully known – and we will fully know Jesus. Until then, we journey and grow and discover.
This doesn’t mean that I reject outright the idea that we have a destiny and calling – something for which God has uniquely designed us – it is just that I believe that for most of us it is a more fluid lifelong process of transformation in Christ in which we are given opportunities along the way to express what God is doing in our lives – in simple and spectacular ways – even in which God redeems our failures for his glory.
And we may just have that Damascus Road moment when God “calls” us to something special but it still needs to be worked out in the day to day while God perfects the timing while he is perfecting us. After all he is interested in producing pure gold, while I would probably be content with gold leaf (looks good, and much less painful.)
Who Am I?”
Daily laying down our own life of the flesh, with all of its greedy selfishness and self-exaltation, is the dying to self that Jesus is talking about when he said that we should pick up our cross to follow him. The things that we discover as we then walk by the Spirit are glorious to God, even though they may not be appreciated by the world.
⇒ We discover truth that sets us free from the harmful and soul crushing patterns of the world.
⇒ We discover that love is not cushy emotion, but a powerful force of commitment and obedience – of considering and serving others because love isn’t about ourselves. It is about what we can give others.
⇒ We discover that our identity is not in what we do – our career, talents, or the act of parenthood – but is something that is wrapped up in God’s knowledge of us and as we journey with him, he shows us who we are – day by day. That is, if we stop being too busy to listen – because the more that I get to know God, the better that I will know myself – and thus live out the high calling of Christ in me.
My identity is wrapped up in God’s knowledge of me.
All of this is opposite to the world system and the natural inclinations of my flesh, and this has taken me decades to discover.
Having a title, job description, or position makes it easier for the world to identify and categorize you – so that it doesn’t really need to get to know you – it only needs to determine whether it is useful to know you. When we give tacit agreement to this approach we do ourselves a disservice. We undermine the truer understanding of our worth in God’s sight. We believe the lie that our value is wrapped up in what we do, rather than who we are – beloved of God.
Beloved of God
Beloved of God (Jude 1:1)
…even if the light that is spilling through the cracks of this clay pot is reflected into my kitchen, on to my child, in listening to a friend, through the sweat of hard work, in the boardroom, or written in these words…
…even if God picks up this clay pot and takes it to the top of a hill to smash it open to reveal the light within it…
Our simple response is to trustingly put our hand in his and let Him reveal His glory in us in whatever way he chooses.
“And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.” Romans 8:30
Your life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) and the secret treasure of the best “you” is revealed as Christ is revealed in you.
“Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!” Colossians 1:27
I’m sharing this at Faith Barista today:
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