No matter what type of service you decide to step into for Jesus, having a strong sense of being called to do that is of paramount importance. My experience is that not hearing from God on where you serve can be a mistake; especially if you believe you are being led to step into some major role in vocational Christian ministry. Brad Jenkins, lead pastor at Anthem Church in Tulsa has some great thoughts for us on clarifying our calling.
Originally published by Brad. Jenkins
PURPOSE IS A GIFT.
Show me a person with purpose, and I will show you someone with a reason to live.
Alternatively, show me a person without a clear purpose, and I will show you someone who struggles to get out of bed in the morning, consistently fails to bring their best to their relationships, and readily admits they aren’t enjoying life.
This reality is why the topic of purpose and calling is so critical.
Proverbs 29:18 powerfully captures this idea,
“WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH.”
This proverb is just as true for individuals as it is for organizations. It is tragic when a lack of purpose sends people toward a meaningless existence or self-destructive choices.
As humans, we derive our sense of meaning and purpose from two primary arenas: our relationships and our work. We need both in order to be fully alive. Unfortunately, some have overlooked the incredible importance of work in the equation of their personal happiness. But work is critical to one’s purpose.
I BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT ALL CHRISTIANS HAVE A DIVINE CALLING ON THEIR LIFE.
That is why it is sad when I talk to someone who is simply holding down a job rather than fulfilling a calling. Their energy is different – shoulders slumped, eyes distant, and passionless. They are just trying to survive the day.
You might find yourself in that season right now. Your job isn’t a match. Your boss isn’t a fit. Your vocation isn’t a calling.
I want to challenge you to do the difficult but rewarding work of discovering God’s calling for your life rather than settling for a job.
MOST PEOPLE’S LIVES WOULD DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE IF THEY MOVED FROM A “JOB” MINDSET TO A “CALLING” MINDSET.
That shift requires an internal decision to pursue purpose above an available paycheck and turn down job openings in favor of the precise way your Creator uniquely designed you.
On this point, I especially love the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:10,
“FOR WE ARE GOD’S HANDIWORK, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.”
Three truths stand out to me:
- I am the result of God’s work.
- I was created to do good works.
- God prepared the work I should do in advance.
The teaching of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2 is essential to our understanding of calling and individual purpose. In fact, when we talk about calling, we are talking first and foremost about Ephesians 2:10.
Before salvation, I am dead in my sins and dead to my calling. Then, when I encounter new life in Christ, God awakens my unique sense of purpose and calling. My calling wasn’t there apart from Christ, or at least I didn’t see it. And then, God lights a fire inside of me to use my life for the sake of others and the expansion of God’s kingdom.
CALLING IS DEFINED AS THE UNIQUE WORK THAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO.
And with God’s help, you can clarify your calling. Here are a few questions to get you headed in the right direction:
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What are you good at?
- Where can you make the most significant difference?
The answers to these three questions fit into the three circles below. Feel free to take out a piece of paper and begin writing down answers to each.
YOU WILL DISCOVER YOUR UNIQUE CALLING FROM GOD AT THE INTERSECTION OF YOUR ENJOYMENT, ABILITY, AND OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
There are probably some things you are good at but don’t enjoy. And a few things you enjoy that don’t directly make a difference in the lives of others. Those are something to pay attention to, but they are probably NOT your calling.
Your calling resides at the intersection of all three of these questions. You are searching for God’s affirmation of a type of work that you enjoy, are good at, and can make a difference in other people’s lives. This is the bullseye you are searching for when clarifying your calling.
Once you have considered these three questions in depth, ask someone you know and trust for feedback. Ask them what they see in you. Ask them what they think is the best way that all three of these can work together in a vocational or volunteer environment. Ask them to pray for you. And then act in faith and pursue the opportunities most in line with the way God has made you.
ADMITTEDLY, CLARIFYING YOUR CALLING TAKES TIME TO ACCOMPLISH. IT MAY TAKE YEARS OR LONGER IN SOME CASES.
But the clearer your sense of calling, the more meaningful your life will become. And that hard work is well worth your best effort.
*If this has been helpful, please send me a message and let me know. I would love to hear from you. And please share this post with others who could benefit. My writing aims to help people enjoy a vibrant relationship with Jesus, and it is an honor to be on this journey with you. You can subscribe to receive weekly emails by going to www.bradjenkins.me