Every ministry leader is familiar with the question “How do I know God’s plan for my life?” We’ve also asked it ourselves: “What’s my calling?” We throw around the word calling as if it’s something we can determine for the rest of our days; a destination which, if we could just get there, would make sense of everything. Usually we use it in reference to a career or ministry endeavor. Calling is an elusive and often misunderstood concept in Christianity.
What I’m about to say may both encourage and disappoint you: There is no blueprint for your life. There is no set “calling” you can find and secure unchangeably from age 22 to the day you die. Calling is a word we’ve used, and a concept we’ve largely created, to make sense of where God leads us in daily life. Sadly, it often distracts us from what is most important.
God DOES have a will for your life. But did you know He has already shared what that is? He has also given you Someone to help you live it out. Today, let’s dive deeper into this issue of “calling” so you can live free to follow Jesus instead of searching for purpose.
God’s will has already been revealed in God’s Word
All throughout the Word of God we see references to what God wants for His people, His plan for them, His vision for their behavior. If we follow these directives, we see a life of blessing and impact. Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that why we want to know where we are being “called”?
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul writes that “God’s will is your sanctification.” Sanctification is a word for refining, the process of being set apart. God’s will is for you to be set apart for Him in your community! This means your words, actions and choices reflect that you follow Jesus and have faith in who He is.
In 1 Peter 2, the apostle writes that God’s will is for us to “do good.” By doing good, he says, we will “silence the talk of ignorant people.” Essentially he’s saying that a life of good character disproves anyone who says Jesus doesn’t matter.
In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about the Lord’s will again, saying that God wants us to abstain from drunkenness and—once again—to live set-apart lives.
This is God’s will for you! Are you following this? Are you seeking Him to let Him change you, and living set apart in your community? That’s where God’s will starts for you! As you do this faithfully, more detailed directions are revealed in your daily walk with Him.
God’s Spirit is your Helper
How do you know what to decisions to make in those details, though? How do you choose a college? How do you choose a spouse? God offers us a lot of freedom in these areas. We are ALL free to make choices; you can marry someone who doesn’t love Christ, for example. That would be a poor decision and not God’s will for you. Some choices are neither good nor bad; God gives freedom for both. For example, you could decide to go to one of two colleges and be faithful to God at either one.
In these more intricate decisions, God gives us His Holy Spirit as a Helper. Jesus predicted His coming in John 15-17, and He arrived in Acts 2, God’s gift to the New Testament saints (of which you are one!). Paul and the other apostles constantly encouraged the early Christians to “walk by the Spirit.” This means making daily choices according to the leading of God’s Spirit in you. You have to be willing to stop, pray and listen for direction to do this. The more detailed answers to daily decisions are received as you walk daily with God.
If you had a blueprint, you wouldn’t need to walk by faith!
So why doesn’t God give you a blueprint for His will? Because if He did, you wouldn’t need to trust Him. You wouldn’t need to walk with Him. You could just follow the plan! It would become impersonal; just rule-following, not a relationship. And God wants a relationship with you above all else. That’s why He created man.
Instead of searching for your calling, search for Jesus. You won’t find your calling apart from Him. So start and end there, and you’ll learn your purpose as you walk daily with Him.