When I first became a Christian during my freshman year of college, I remember hearing so many Christians around me talking about what God was calling them to do. My pastor from back home had been “called” to leave our church and take a position at a different church. I had friends who were being “called” into marriage and others who told me they were “called” into a period of singleness. I began to wonder, “When is God going to “call” me to do something?”
As you can imagine I had a lot of questions!
How does God call people? How do I know when he is calling me? Would I receive a clear sign or hear an audible voice? Would I sense His presence somehow?
A Misunderstanding of Biblical Calling
Many well-meaning Christians have spent much of their time and energy trying to figure out what God has for their future. They wait for God to give them a feeling, to reveal some sort of sign, or to ordain “can’t-miss” circumstances. The desire to walk in line with God’s will is certainly admirable, but what do we do if God isn’t revealing his calling for our lives in the way we are expecting?
A Biblical Understanding of Calling
The truth is, if you’re a Christian, God has already revealed your future to you. And by future, I don’t mean your future occupation or spouse; I mean that God has already revealed to you what your life should look like as a faithful Christian.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
In other words, it’s a possibility that God may open doors or give you a feeling of peace to help you make decisions. But it’s an absolute certainty that God’s word provides everything you need to know to be equipped to live the life God has called you to live.
In fact, when the New Testament authors speak of calling, or God’s will for our lives, they primarily talk about our calling to follow Christ and become more like him. Let me be clear: in one sense, God certainly calls us to things like singleness or marriage or one profession or another by shaping our desires or sovereignly working out circumstances. However, our mistake comes when we begin to put our primary focus on things God has not revealed clearly in his Word (occupation, where to go to college, where to live, etc.) and neglect what is revealed clearly in his Word (to follow Christ and become more like Him).
So, if you started reading this article hoping to learn God’s will for your life, I’ve got great news. Here are 5 things that God is definitely calling you to.
Called to believe in Christ
In Romans 1:6-7, Paul tells the believers in Rome that they are “called to belong to Jesus Christ” and “called to be saints (Christians).” God’s foremost calling on our lives is to put our faith in Christ for our salvation, to turn from our sin, and worship Jesus as our savior and Lord.
Called to be sanctified
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” God is so determined for his people to be sanctified that he tells us in his Word that it is his will! Sanctification is the lifelong process through which God works in us to make us more like Jesus. If you are a Christian, God is calling you to wage war against your sin and pursue holiness.
Called to the local church
The New Testament knows nothing of “loner” Christians. To be a Christian is to be a member of the local church. Jesus said the gates of Hell would never prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). Don’t spend your life alone on the sidelines! Take God’s calling on your life seriously and link arms with other believers in the battle!
Called to be persecuted
2 Timothy 3:12 says that “all who desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This can be anything from being martyred for your faith to someone raising an eyebrow at you in your sorority, dorm, or on your team. God is not calling you to a life of ease and comfort, he is calling you to a life of allegiance to him, and all who take on this calling will be persecuted.
Called to make Disciples
Matthew 28:18-20 is called the Great Commission (not the Great Suggestion) for a reason. Every single disciple of Christ is called to take part in God’s command to make disciples of all nations. Therefore, there are three types of Christians in the world: faithful goers, faithful senders, and those who are disobedient to God’s call.
I hope this truth about Biblical calling leads you to freedom. You don’t need to live the rest of your life wondering if you are going down some path God hasn’t called you to. Live in obedience to things you know he has called you to, and you can’t miss God’s will for your life!