Ephesians 4:1 Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called. Everyone of us have been called to something unique and specific. Everyone of us are accountable to God and ourselves for how we fulfill that calling. There are specific things God asks of one person to do within their calling, that he doesn’t ask of another person. I can’t compare myself or what God is asking me to do with someone else’s calling and their personal approach to it. I’ve got to get on with being obedient in the things that help me fulfill my calling and you do too. Whatever God has called you to, walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have received, otherwise you’ll undermine what God wants to do through you. Consider what it looks like for you to walk it out in this season of your life.
Discerning your calling is one of the most important responsibilities you have.
However, I’ve learnt that it isn’t as hard as you might think. As I reflect over my life I have to acknowledge I have certainly made the task more difficult than it actually is. I think one of the benefits of growing older and hopefully a little more mature, is that you get insightful perspectives on life that you didn’t have previously.
For me there are 4 basic ideas to discerning your calling:
1. Passion – What are you passionate about? What are deeply interested in? What human needs do you gravitate to?
2. Ability – What talent do you possess? What do others say you are great at? Where are you effective?
3. Opportunity – What doors for service are presenting to you right now? What are the needs around you that require your attention? What opportunities lie before you?
4. Listen – What is God saying to you at this point in your journey? What scriptures, words and ideas continually spring to mind?
The PAOL process can be applied to finding your next job, making life altering decisions and venturing out into new fields of ministry. This process requires deep understanding of self-awareness, listening to the counsel of trusted friends and spending time with God.
For service in the local church, I would encourage you to begin with opportunity. Opportunities abound in the local church. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (Lk 10:2). Every church desperately needs people to serve in some area. The more ministries you try and serve in, the better idea you’ll get of what you are effective in and what you are a gumby at. By the way, we are all good at something and a gumby at something. Enjoy!
Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Paul was given grace by God and he recognized the grace God had given to him. Paul then exhorts us to not rate ourselves higher than the measure of faith that God has assigned to us. This is an interesting thought. From God’s perspective, we are to think about ourselves in accordance with the grace and measure of faith, heaven has assigned us.
When was the last time you ever thought about yourself in this way? I’ve observed that I sometimes think about myself in relation to how I’m feeling that day or what I have or haven’t accomplished in my life. Sometimes we think about ourselves in relation to other people’s opinions. But God says, ‘none of these are valid filters to measure yourself through.’
God assigns to all of us a measure of faith. This measure can grow based upon our hearing of Gods word and our obedience to it. The potential for growth in grace and faith challenges me to position myself before God in a way that I can access more of him to fulfill the call he’s given to me.
Romans 12:6 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” One of the things I have observed about ministry gifts in the Body of Christ is that they are all ministering out of the grace God has given to them. I think too often we think that our ministry is all dependent upon our efforts and works. It’s true, faith apart from works is dead but I’m coming to realize more and more that our ministry sphere of influence is directly connected to God’s grace upon us and the measure of faith we are currently exercising.
What must be our response to this? I believe that we must discern the grace God has given to us and soberly measure the faith we currently have, whilst we are being diligently faithful to the assigned sphere of influence God’s grace has extended to us. Much can come from little in God’s economy but we must position ourselves to maximize the grace God’s given to us and fully exercise the faith we have been assigned. Here’s some basic tips to do so:
- Honour spiritual authority
- Increase your intimacy with God
- Hear God’s Word and obey it
- Develop your gift and use it to its fullest potential
- Trust God’s plan for your life and ministry
Jonah 1:2-4 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.
God will not be ignored! Jonah’s example reminds us that God can create very uncomfortable and unforgettable circumstances around us if we ignore his call. One of the key things that brought me to a place of submission to God’s call on my life was a healthy fear of avoiding uncomfortable circumstances if I tried to run away from his call.
Never misjudge God’s capacity to get your attention. Jonah had to endure three miserable days and nights in the belly of a fish before he came to his senses and accepted his assignment. Never think that God will ignore tiny acts of defiance and disobedience. Don’t forget your call is bigger than you. Your act of rebellion today could impact thousands of other people’s lives tomorrow. When one person is out of the will of God, everyone around that person has to pay the price for it. Take for example Achan who ignored the command of God and stole some of the treasures of Jericho for himself. As a result Israel lost their next battle at Ai and incurred the judgement of God.
Don’t ignore God’s call on your life and don’t invite people on the journey that God hasn’t invited. When you get the wrong people out of your life, the wrong things stop happening. Mike Murdock once said, “The waves of yesterdays disobedience will splash on the shores of today.” Walking in contradiction to God’s call will bring about painful experiences.
If you are experiencing pain due to disobedience, remember, pain is corrective. Pain forces you to look to God’s Word for answers. Pain forces you to lean on God’s arm instead of man’s. Pain forces you to learn where you went astray. Pain forces you to long for his presence and healing. Pain forces you to listen for changes in God’s instructions to you. Don’t rebel against your call and you can avoid ‘some’ unnecessary pain altogether.