Day 10

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God Gives Faith for My Calling/Purpose

1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

The history of “calling” is rich in scripture. Even today it is a concept that has secular acceptability.  However, in the New Testament, it is primarily used two ways.  

First, ”calling” is used almost synonymously with salvation.  That is to say, it punctuates the notion of salvation saving us from sin and to a purpose, a mission, an assignment, a way of living that is entirely dependent on the Holy Spirit.  It requires believing that God saves you for a purpose.  He does not save us to put us on a shelf like some crusty farm-fresh antique rescued from the burn pile…That is not to say that some of us aren’t crusty, farm-fresh, or antique…Instead, He rescues us and restores us to the purpose for which we were created; redeeming every aspect of our lives and making us new.

Second, calling, amongst other things has to do with the fruit of salvation.  As a garden growing person, plants that bear fruit stand out from every other plant because the grower tends to them with expectation and anticipation that what they produce will be good and satisfying.  We tend to them carefully because we want the plant to grow healthy and produce good fruit.  The early church was referred to as a community or council of  “called out ones,” aligning their identity with the action of God speaking something into existence that was not visible or truly present before.  Pointing to the bond between us Christ-followers, is the shared experience of being seen by God, rescued and redeemed by Jesus, and empowered by our God with the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to receive and complete missions from God that glorify Him. This is fruitfulness. Jesus uses His "calling" on us to reveal Himself to an unbelieving and lost world, bringing to existence a revelation of Himself by creating a witness in us and through our life actions that did not exist before redeeming work.

If you're human, as much as you may love God, you have also probably doubted God.  We want Damascus Road experiences with Jesus as affirmation before we obey...every…time. But I want to remind you that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross should be enough.  His revealed character and loving instruction should be enough.  His promised Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit’s precious infilling should definitely be enough…And yet we think that the things God “calls us to” are either beneath us or above us

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

It seems that we often think of the ideas of Jeremiah 1:5 concerning who we are and who God is to us as only applying to special people. God cares about other people but not me.  He has a calling and purpose for others, but not me.   Friend, He is not surprised by the brokenness of our responses to His calling(s).  

Some of us want “a stage,” you know, the upfront component of ministry, some of us are satisfied with helping out in the background. But in truth, all of us are called to the servanthood that establishes character.  Make no mistake, it is the development of Godly character that can carry the anointing of God forward unto fruitfulness that glorifies our Father in heaven.  Some of us will not move into service within the Kingdom of God unless we get a certified letter from God and even then we’d still try to wiggle out of it.  We often take for granted that serving our church family/community is a privilege much like serving our families at home. When we serve at home there is not a ton of special recognition or notoriety…(can you imagine…theme music and cheering when dad takes out the trash or folds laundry?) but there is a need and roles to be filled in order for our homes to run and hopefully run smoothly so we can do life well.  

1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV
 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sometimes responding as a “called out one” or a person living in calling is about a lifelong assignment that God speaks to specifically…but even those are filled with a series of smaller assignments that are just par for the course.  Sometimes discovering our greater life calling is discovered by fulfilling smaller callings and assignments in the in-between times. 

We tend to look at the opportunities to serve in our churches as chores and not parts of our individual callings.  Have you ever been guilty of being approached to serve in some area where there is a need and you used “calling” as a cop-out? Have you ever responded to opportunities to serve as if God only saved you, but will not enable you to serve where He has planted you?  I mean, how often have we simply not even tried? I think we get as far as identifying that we do not like doing a thing, but not far enough into the place of prayer with the “opportunity'' as to identify whether or not God's heart is in it.  What if He desires to use something we have no taste for as a means of shaping us for what's next? 

Imagine what we miss out on because we appeal to our flesh rather than to the leading of the Spirit and the community into which God has deposited us.  I’ve heard it said that “If it is God’s time, it is His dime.” We Believe in God, but do we believe the God in whom we believe? Imagine the moments and seasons of vision and adventure with God we’ve already missed out on because of this frame of mind.  Come on friends!  In Christ, this is the stuff we were made for!   Let’s Gooooo!

I encourage you, “called out ones,” have faith not in what you think about the depth of your “ability well” and your “capacity well.”  Rather, understand that the God kind of faith, the faith we are called to walk out in this life, is the outward fruit of a growth process: 

  1. Get busy believing God is who He says He is, character and all.  
  2. Ponder that first idea.  Think about the implications of who God is and the community into which He has planted you and “called” you to be rooted.  Rooted, to grow and bear fruit.  
  3. The thought process laid out in items 1-2 is called “hope”…and it should cause you to delight in God’s ways.  The more you think about it the more certain/convinced/persuaded you become, reminding yourself that He is trustworthy. And what's more, is we become persuaded that what He sees in you that you haven’t even a clue of - is still on point…On point because He made you.  This is especially true when you think your wells are too shallow (He made you), too muddy (He made you), or just too dry (He made you) to answer His call.  

Friends! It is His dime! He will add to you the empowerment you need! 

Are you confident in what you think you are capable of? Or, are you confident in discovering, hand in hand with the Holy Spirit, that He made you for more than what has even entered your imagination.  It is time to get busy answering that call from God to be a part of church family life.  The only way to begin reaching into our communities at large is to step out as “called out ones” into service within your local church. Your church family needs you to thrive where God has planted you.

Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Spend some time asking God to help you respond to His call with a willing heart.  Maybe God has a special call on your life, a very defined assignment in a vocational ministry or doing something to advance the Kingdom in the marketplace.  Maybe you think you missed your chance.  Offer your whole self to God and His calling with a renewed heart.  Invite God to open doors and make the way straight before you.  Finally put a “yes” and “amen” in your spirit.  Posture your heart to live out this declaration: “God whatever you want, I won’t say no.”  Write out your prayer from your own heart.

Written by James Haffener for Kingdom Venture- 21 Days of Fasting a Prayer