Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our calling

Our background and our circumstances may have influenced who we are... but we are responsible for who we become.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Ephesians 5:8

Sometimes I just sit and watch my kids and I wonder what the future holds for them… and I wonder about what ‘could have been’. Of course I do not have the answers to any of those thoughts- but I do know one thing- God has a plan for their lives- and their background and circumstances will never prevent them from living the life God called them to be- if they don’t let it. As a matter of fact- I believe God will use everything you are and everything that has ever happened to you- and I have come to realize that often our earlier experiences (especially the ones that involve ‘pain’) are often the key to being able to fulfill God’s calling.
So the question for many of us is often this “How do I know if what I am doing is God’s calling?” And a good question it is. I believe that God has a general call for all people- that call is to Salvation. God calls all people to Himself. Then once you are a Christian I believe God calls us to be a witness for Him. Then beyond that, some people are called by God into a particular service. Remember though, serving means serving others- not ourselves. God reaches through one-or a few-to touch many. Often individuals are called by seeing a need and responding to it. The need becomes the call. So if what you are doing is mainly going to be ‘for your own benefit’ and not for others then it may not be a ‘God calling’. To me, following God’s calling for my life means turning my back on anything else that previously held me in it’s grip. Sometimes those things that had a hold on me were even ‘good’ things. But since God knows we all have the same 24 hours in a day it’s important that we spend our time on HIS calling- not OUR desires, our interests or our own self- will. Whatever it takes- you have to abandon yourself to Christ. I used to think I was doing that… filling my day with good things (or so I thought). I wasn’t doing anything bad after all- I was just living my life… for ME.
There are also other ways to ensure it is God’s calling-those ways include the Word of God, through the opening and closing of doors (our circumstances), the inner voice of God, our particular gifts and talents, and through the wisdom of other Christians. But I think the ultimate confirmation is when there is great joy in carrying out the call. That does not necessarily mean there will be great success- but there will be great, great joy and a feeling like you are exactly where you belong-even in suffering. But I think we have to be very careful in how we view suffering. I do not think that in order to please God we have to be stressed out, overworked, miserable and feel tortured. I do not believe it is God’s desire for us to be unhappy. For me, while there have been times where I have been skeptical- or even afraid- there was still a great desire to do God’s work. When I watch my kids- that is exactly what I hope for them (and for you) to feel one day. A great desire to serve the King of Kings- and to never feel more alive through doing it.

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