Saturday, August 2, 2014

Called To Be A.....

                There was a time in my life that I struggled with trying to figure out the calling that God had placed on my life. It seemed like everyone around me knew exactly what it was the Lord had “called” them to do. They were called to lead ministries, called to lead worship, called to teach, and so on. For me, this was a hard area to understand, because for me, I seemed to not have any direction for this life that the Lord had given me. I served in the church, I attended bible studies, and did everything that everyone else was doing- but a calling, that just never seemed to come.
               Over the years however, I began to believe that my calling was Children’s Ministry. I was good at it. (I know- that sounds a lot like me and not a lot like the Lord- but bear with me.) The children responded well to me, they listened and were always happy to have me as their teacher. Then, as I grew in the Lord, the Lord saw fit to put me into a position of leadership. I began writing lessons, plays, VBS programs and other things that went along with ministering to the children. But there always seemed to be something missing in this “calling” God had placed on my life. It wasn't until the Lord took me out of that ministry that I began to see that I had misunderstood what the calling on my life really was. I realized that the calling that I have from God is the same one that every Christian has. I realized that the gifts and talents I had been given were not my calling, but they were in fact, given so that I could fulfill the one calling that God had placed on my life.
                “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling,” Ephesians 4:1-4
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                Paul beseeches (begged) the Ephesians to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” He is begging them to see that they all have the same calling. To be called means to accept an invitation. When I looked this word up in the context to which Paul was referring, the definition stated that the calling was a “divine invitation to embrace salvation” (Vines Expository Dictionary). Paul tells us that our calling in life is to walk worthy of the divine invitation of salvation that God has given us. This calling on our lives does not change. It is the same for me as it is for you.
                Paul goes on to tell us that this calling on our lives is to be walked out in lowliness, not thinking more highly of ourselves than we should. It is to be walked out in gentleness, considering others before ourselves. It is also to be walked out in longsuffering, being patient with those who are not where we are at, but loving them through whatever it is they are going through. Paul says that this calling on our lives is to bear with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Our calling is not in what we do, it is in how we live. The calling that God has placed on my life, on all our lives is to live before Him and the world a life worthy of the salvation that He paid so dearly for.
                But, for me, I thought there was more. I hear people tell me all the time that they are “called” to do this, they are “called” to do that. But I think, after studying this topic, that we are getting the gifts and talents we have been given confused with the actual calling on our lives. If you have some time read through 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Paul writes out for us the gifts of the Spirit. As you read through these scriptures, do you see Paul saying anyone was “called” to evangelize? Was anyone “called” to be a prophet? Was anyone “called” to be a teacher? No, because the gifts we have been given do not define our calling. Our calling is to be Christians, walking worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
                We are called to walk worthy of this salvation that we have been given. We have been called to be saints. (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2) Nowhere in the Bible do I see a reference to anyone being called to be anything other than a Christian or a Saint. When someone tells me they were “called” to be an apostle- I cringe. (A little bunny trail- bear with me again, please) Because, from what I have discovered and studied, the only ones God ever referred to as Apostles in His Word was the twelve that He hand-picked. To be an Apostle means that you have seen the Risen Christ. It means that you have had an encounter with the Risen Christ- exactly like the disciples did after the resurrection, and like Paul had on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Only those twelve men were called Apostles. So, beware of those who call themselves apostles. I do not see anyone else in the Bible but those twelve being referred to as Apostles. (Seek it out for yourself if you disagree).
                Maybe you are wondering what your calling is? Maybe you are asking the Lord to reveal to you the “call” He has placed on your life. I want to encourage you today that the calling you have is the same one that I have. That calling is to walk worthy of the salvation that God has called you to. Every time there is a reference to the word “calling” it always goes back to the same definition that Paul writes in Ephesians 4. To be called means that you have accepted the divine invitation of God to live a life worthy of the salvation that He paid for. Our gifts and talents are just a tool God uses to help us grow into a life worthy of this calling, and to build up and edify others to do the same.
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                “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is short-sighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” 2 Peter 1:5-10
                Peter shows us that our “call and election”  are the same. We are to be diligent to walk worthy of the salvation to which God has called us, and we are to grow into that calling. Our gifts and talents are meant only to edify and build up our walks and the walks of others. We all have the same calling. We all have the same purpose- to glorify God through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not be confused, the call on your life is the same as all the other Christians out there. That calling on your life you have been seeking has been in front of you this whole time. Walk worthy of it.

                Father I pray that You would reveal Your word to Your children. I pray that we would see the calling on our lives to walk worthy of the salvation You paid so dearly for. Father, I pray that we would no longer seek for our gifts and talents to define our calling, but that we would humble ourselves and allow Your salvation to be the motivation for how we live this life, and how we are able to fulfill the calling you have placed on us all. Father, I pray that they will not take my word for it, but that they too will go and seek out for themselves the truth of Your word. In Jesus Name, to Him be glory, honor and praise now and forever, amen and amen.