Philippians 3:13 “But one thing I do..”
The most common question i get asked when I travel and speak is “What’s God’s will for my life?” This is asked in a variety of ways but essentially comes back to this underlying wrestle in our hearts, “What on earth am I here for?” God has created you for a singular purpose. You can have many hobbies and interests but you can only have one purpose. You can be gifted and skilled in many areas but God has created to fulfil a specific calling. The Book of Proverbs tells us, “Everything is made for a purpose.” My one big thing is to inspire the global church to fulfil its calling on planet earth. What’s your OBT..? I encourage you and challenge you to discover, develop and direct your time, energy and abilities towards knowing and doing your One Big Thing as if your life depended on it.. because it actually does. Explosive Insights!
Genesis 16:1-2 “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘The Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”
I love the story of Abraham and Sarah’s journey of faith because it mirrors what many of us go through in our own lives. When we face the delay of Gods promises being fulfilled, most of us take matters into our own hands. This is exactly what Sarai and Abram did after 10years of not seeing the fulfilment of God’s promises. When Abram should’ve kept listening to the voice of God, he listened to the voice of doubt and retreated from the life of faith. When we can’t see in the natural what we are expecting from God in our timeline, we often look for other options to bring the promise to pass. Unfortunately, our efforts to secure what God wants to secure for us indicates our lack of trust for Gods timing and purposes. 2 Corinthians 5:7 calls us to “walk by faith, not by sight.” Faith hears the rhema inspired word of God and stays focused on it regardless of what the natural circumstances might be indicating. When Abram took matters into his own hands, he only delayed what God always intended to bless him with, the promised son Isaac. Whatever your Isaac is, God wants you to trust him with the timing of the promise. Guard your heart from doubt and run back to the rhema word of God. Your Isaac is coming your way. Explosive Insights!
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.
Too easily do we look at the issue of ‘calling’ through the lens of contemporary cultural paradigms rather than what the bible actually reveals to us.
A calling is God’s unique soul print on a person’s identity (Ps 139:13-15). A calling is a strong heart conviction that God burdens you with (Rom 4:20-21). A calling is God’s anointing that rests upon you (1 Sam 16:13). A calling transcends a job or specific occupation (Acts 9:15, the apostle Paul worked as a tent maker but was called to be an apostle to the gentiles). A calling is witnessed to by others, especially spiritual authority (Jn 1:29).
Calling comes in different shapes and sizes and transcends the practical application of it being outworked. Noah saved a remnant by building a boat. Abraham became the father of many nations by faith in God’s promise. Moses delivered a nation by leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Elijah performed signs and wonders as prophet to Israel.
The difference between a calling and a career is remarkable:
- Calling = Treasure in heaven VS Career = $ on earth
- Calling = Life of sacrifice VS Career = Life of convenience
- Calling = God’s always right VS Career = Your rights
- Calling = Applause of heaven VS Career = Applause of man
- Calling = Faithfulness VS Career = Success
- Calling = Continues VS Career = Conclusion
What are you pursuing, a calling or a career?
Proverbs ‘A mans gift makes room for him.’
Your calling is about your identity. I hear people say they don’t want to build their identity upon their calling but I actually think God does exactly this. Tell me, where does one start and the other end? Calling is inextricably linked to who you are. Jesus was called by his Father to be the messiah and lay down his life on the cross. His identity was completely wrapped up in his relationship with his Father and the course of life the Father destined him to fulfill. My identity is established in my relationship with Father God but his calling on me is fundamentally apart of my relationship with him that I don’t know where one ends and the other begins.
Your anointing is about your purpose. God has created everyone of us fearfully and wonderfully (Ps 139). I believe every person on the planet has received an anointing because we have been made in the image of God but the power and potency of this anointing is determined by our relationship with the Holy Spirit. The anointing on your life will ebb and flow according to your relationship with God. The anointing is the expression of the person and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Whilst all humans are made in the image of God with a deposit of Gods anointing in their DNA, the anointing is actually fully alive in the person surrendered to God and filled with his Spirit. God anoints you for a specific purpose. You are clearly anointed for some things and not for others. A key to success in life is to discern early what it is you are anointed for and run hard in that very purpose. Remember, it’s never too late to start today.
Your gifting is about your ability. The gifts and call of God are irrevocable, meaning without repentance. God’s not going to call them back from you but they can be undeveloped and underutilized. We are all responsible to develop our gifting. God will give you the raw material but you need to develop what has been given freely as a good deposit into your life. Your gift will bring you before prominent people in your field. Your character will sustain you in the space, your gifting creates for you. Spiritual gifts are evidence of Gods grace. Spiritual fruit is evidence of Gods sanctifying work in us. The Holy Spirit distributes as he wills (1 Cor 12:11). You and I are to enjoy using the gifts God has given to us, whilst earnestly seeking after the higher gifts (higher gifts are those that are in greater need in our lives than others depending upon the circumstances we are facing).
Growing your gift most commonly takes place in 5 key ways:
1. Use it – Start serving someone or something or somewhere today and your gift will automatically grow.
2. Mentor it – Seek out a mentor already established in your specific gift and learn from them.
3. Read it – Read everything you can on your gift and your knowledge will inform your use of it.
4. Pray it – Prayer will partner with the Holy Spirit to inflame the gift within you to be powerful and effective.
5. Focus it – There comes a point in your life when you must stop dilly dallying around and start to focus on doing what only you do best. There’s a time for doing secondary tasks but as you go on, you must focus on your key area of gifting or stay frustrated for the rest of your life.
The office of a prophet is a life calling. Most prophets are called at birth or when they are born again (salvation). It is primarily the Lords choosing, not something you seek to become, however if called, you have a responsibility to develop your gift. Some notable prophetic ministries have identified that it can take as long as 14-15 years for a person to develop into a prophet after being called.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men… And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Eph 4:7, 11)
The five fold ministry is outlined in the above passage and the office of the prophet is one of the ministries that God has established for the governmental leadership of the church. To be a prophet is a calling. To minister in prophecy is a gift. When a person ministers in the gift of prophecy, the gift is the ability to prophesy. The words themselves are the gift. When a person is a prophet, they themselves are the gift. A prophet is a gift to the church.
Apart from a foundation of character, there are actually 3 components to any mature and fruitful ministry. These are:
- Calling – Calling gives identity. Paul was called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (1 Cor 1:1).
- Gifting – Gifting gives ability. ‘As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ (1 Pet 4:10).
- Anointing – Anointing gives purpose. It was prophesied of Jesus, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners’ (Is 61:1).
The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable but the anointing of the Lord ebbs and flows according to the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit. The calling on your life describes who you are. The anointing of God provides you with your purpose in life and the gifts that God has given to you becomes the ability in which you accomplish his purposes.
Someone once asked Billy Graham what would you do differently if you had to do it all over again? He replied,
‘I would have spent twice as much time preparing myself for leadership and preaching and half as much time actually leading and preaching. If I had 5 years left to live, I would go back to bible college for 3 years and then hit the road and preach all over the globe for my last 2 years.’
If it’s good enough for Billy Graham, it’s good enough for you and I. Lead yourself before you lead anyone else!