Week 49 – Walking Out Your Calling
But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you.Jesus
50. The sum of the Christian life is denial of ourselves.
51. The ends of this self-denial are four.
1. That we may devote ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.
2. That we may not seek our own things, but those which belong to God and to our neighbour.
3. That we may patiently bear the cross, the fruits of which are — acknowledgment of our weakness, the trial of our patience, correction of faults, more earnest prayer, more cheerful meditation on eternal life.
4. That we may know in what manner we ought to use the present life and its aids, for necessity and delight. Necessity demands that we possess all things as though we possessed them not; that we bear poverty with mildness, and abundance with moderation; that we know how to endure patiently fullness, and hunger, and want; that we pay regard to our neighbour, because we must give account of our stewardship; and that all things correspond to our calling. The delight of praising the kindness of God ought to be with us a stronger argument.100 Aphorisms, John Calvin
“Calling” in Context: All Are Called to Holiness
In recent years, there has been growing interest in “discovering one’s calling”: What was I made for? What does God want me to do? What is my God-designed purpose in life? God has been pouring out to the body of Christ His wisdom on this topic, reinvigorating His church with purpose, zeal and a rich understanding of the diversity of callings He’s created for different people.
However, in the midst of this new-found fervor for walking in God’s design, we need to keep in mind that there is one calling that all Christians share: a call to holiness. Many references in the Bible about “callings” and the will of the Lord seem to be referring more to this universal calling and will for all of us, as opposed to His will regarding an individual’s choice of profession, location, church and relationships.
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul is referring to more than one person, and speaks of their calling – not an individual’s specific calling, but the call of all believers to walk with God: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1) Likewise, Paul exhorts in the letter to the Romans to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) His will is always that His people choose holiness!
Other examples of this universal calling are as follows:
“Among whom you also are called of Jesus Christ. To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints…” (Romans 1:67)
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.” (1 Corinthians 1:2)
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling…” (Ephesians 4:4)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling…” (Ephesians 1:18)
“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17)
In trying to discern the will of the Lord for our lives, we must keep this fact in mind: He has already revealed in His Word His will for all of us.
Each of us is called to live for Him wholeheartedly, in righteousness and holiness.
Faith to Fulfill Your Calling
People wonder , “Have I missed ‘it’?” As we seek God’s will for our lives, oftentimes it is too easy to slip into “panic mode.” What am I called to do? Am I doing the right thing now? Have I screwed up my life so much that there’s no way I can get on the right track? Should I leave my job?”
The first step in discerning your specific calling is — don’t panic. The second step is to choose faith. God has good plans for you! Nothing took Him by surprise regarding where you are now, what direction you are heading in, or what your final destination is. God is for you: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31) This truth prevails, whether you are just graduating from college and don’t know what your next step is, whether you’re a Wall Street tycoon who has come to Christ after forty years of living like hell, or whether God has rescued you from a life on the streets. God is in the business of turning zeroes to heroes, as well as humbling those who have always thought too much of themselves, molding us into people He can really use. (Luke 1:46-55)
Embrace the verses below to cultivate your faith for His great plan for your life, also keeping in mind that in choosing to follow Him, you have already lined up with His will:
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
“The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God which I charge you today, to observe them carefully…” (Deuteronomy 28:13)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:18-19)
For more on the topic of calling, read Answering the Call.
- What is the one calling that all Christians share?
- What part does faith play in the successful pursuit of our callings?
- In the above scriptures, what are some of the promises from God to the believer?