Looking for an Easy Answer to Calling?
To find calling, I need to prepare myself for a journey without expectation of a specific answer, time, or place. Obtaining this answer requires effort: mental, spiritual, and maybe even physical. Most of all, it requires I prepare myself to hear the whisper of God’s Spirit.
Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness. Now these are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. View in Net Bible
John Chrysostom reminds me in his writings that “Jesus chose the lowly and despised to carry out his mission. Four were fishermen, two were publicans, and one was a traitor.” He educated them as they walked with him. Chrysostom adds, “Only after they had seen the dead raised, the sea rebuked, devils expelled, the legs of a paralytic brought to life, sins remitted, lepers cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of his power both by deeds and words did he send them out.” In the passages to come, Jesus will instruct them further. Interestingly, in contrast to much ministry today, Jesus will not describe expected results.
Calling for Me?
Perhaps some know this quickly, but for many it takes years as it did with Moses to know calling. In the case of the disciples, they spent their daily lives with the Lord in preparation for the calling they received. Discovering calling requires that I exercise this lesson. I must spend much time with the Lord in scripture and prayer. I must also remember that, as with the disciples, my resume will not answer the question of calling. My past successes, failures, education, lack of education, reputation, family reputation, etc. may provide some clues but will not answer the question of calling. Oswald Chambers says “The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.”
Not of this World.
All disciples should seek calling, but I must divorce my search from worldly definitions of success. Refer to the posting on the Naaman Complex. Use not the wisdom of men but the power of God, 1 Corinthians 2:5. In applying this, I must remember my common sense, education, experience, and skills should not dictate calling. By these measures, none of the disciples would have been called. I need to prepare myself to be good soil through reading of scripture and regular prayer, Matthew 13:8.
A Great Fasting Purpose — Discovering Calling
Potentially a subject of many fasts, prayer, and reflection; calling is a question I should return to on a regular basis. Fasting can help me focus the lens of prayer and remind me of my dependency upon God.
When Praying about Calling, Beware of Delusions.
Because of my creative mind, I occasionally suffer from periods of delusional thinking. Over the years, the Holy Spirit has taught me to control this with prayer and confession. Almost always I can identify a delusion in myself because of links to pride, getting credit, being famous, rich, etc. In contrast, love of the activity and seeing it as service will help me to find true calling instead of a delusion. The genuine answer to calling will come with the realization that it may bring difficulty, suffering, and an understanding that it may oppose the world’s definition of success. Along with this disturbance will come a sense of peace and a joy of living out my specific calling.
Beware of those Around you Offering Quick Answers about Calling.
Accepting bad advice and influence from a charismatic leader, church group, or even friends and family can screw my life up for decades if I allow it. Others can help provide clues, but only in limited scope. I must remember that sometimes others, no matter how sincere or spiritual they appear, may cling to un-Godly motives. I must get close to God and listen to him.
The Ultimate answer to Calling.
The following is paraphrased from Oswald Chambers. I must accept that God’s ultimate purpose is to transform me into a saint. If I do not believe this, it is either because I do not want it or I do not believe God can do it. Should I accept this ultimate calling, I must abandon and surrender my right to myself to God, and listen to him, then I will come to understand the specific expression of my calling. By accepting this call, I will accept a lifelong war with my pride. The good news: each day I lay down my pride and pick up the cross strengthens and enables me to do it again tomorrow.
If I think the Answer to Calling is Professional Ministry.
Can I accept often living as a doormat, receiving no credit, no gratitude? Study the callings of the prophets and Jesus’ beginning. If I can walk alone with just God, then I will be able to do this daunting job. If I am responding to the need of humanity, I will fail and burnout.
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