However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
Food for Thought
My belief is that every follower of Christ, regardless of who they are and what they might be doing currently, was meant to participate in this kingdom work; in other words, we have all been called into this mission of Christ. We all have the same general assignment, but our specific roles within it will be unique to us as individuals and will take into account our gifts and talents, experience, assets, physical location, and our connections.
As I have traveled around the world telling my own story of calling, I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me to ask how they can find God’s calling on their lives. This is a very serious and personal matter for each of us as followers of Christ, and I certainly don’t have the corner on how someone else can discern God’s calling. But I do think there are some helpful steps, derived from Scripture, that can bring greater clarity to this universal longing. Let me suggest six of them:
- Commit—This first step toward discerning God’s calling on our lives is the most difficult because it involves dying to self. It means putting everything else aside in order to put God first. This gets to the heart of who is in control of our lives—us or him.
- Pray—Prayer is the method, and the Holy Spirit is the mechanism whereby God has given us the ability to discern his direction in our lives. If you are confused about what God expects of you, pray.
- Prepare—We have the entirety of Scripture at our disposal, and the wise counsel of fellow believers. Scripture provides for us the bigger blueprint for what God is doing in the world, and it gives us all the principles we need to live our lives in his service. Fellow Christians can offer guidance, insight, correction, practical tools, and great encouragement to us as we seek to discern God’s will for our lives.
- Obey—The Great Commission defined what making disciples entailed: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded” (Matt. 28:20, emphasis mine). Disciples are known by their obedience. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
- Act—As you look through the lens of God’s kingdom rescue mission and in the context of your own gifts and abilities, what is it that needs doing that you can do? It is time to act. Earl Palmer observed, “God can’t steer a parked car.” Commit to serving him without conditions and move in the direction of your gifts and your passions, trusting that God will steer and lead.
- Trust—We cannot say that the place where we are stationed, the task that is before us, is insignificant to the larger mission. We are to trust that only God knows the full significance of the role he has called us to play in his greater mission.
Question for Reflection
Where do you think you are in this path to finding your calling? Where could you improve?
Father, please guide my steps as I work to figure out where you want me.