As Christians, the question of how and why we are called by God can be an ongoing source of frustration, confusion, hope and excitement. Is there some secret blueprint where God has specifically laid out what He wants from us, or is God’s call more general?
We actually do have clear guidelines written out for us. Yep, the Bible! God makes it clear again and again what He calls us to do: love others, care for the poor, and to live out our lives in such a way that we point to the Gospel. When we consider what God’s calling is for our lives, those 3 tenets are a great place to start.
Here are a few more things to think about.
Does God really speak to people?
Yes. In fact, God often uses other people to speak words of prophecy, in tongues and by interpretation and words of wisdom and knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8-10). God also expresses Himself through people to distribute His message in anointed sermons, songs and writings. Further, He gave us the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, both in communicating with God and in our being prompted to God’s call.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
How Does God Call Us to Work?
At the beginning of the Bible, God builds work into the essence of humanity. He creates people in His own image, and He himself is a worker. He puts Adam in the garden for the purpose of working it. Later, in various parts of scripture, God commands all people to work to the degree they are able. Work continues through to the very end of the Bible. There is work in the Garden of Eden, and there is work in the New Heaven/New Earth.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.…. So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
Based on these passages, we could say that everyone is “called” to work, as long as we recognize that in this sense “called” really means “created” and “commanded” to work. God created you as a worker, and he commands you to work. It can be difficult to discern the particular work God may be calling you to, but there can be no doubt that he made you as a worker and that he expects you to work, to the degree you are able.
2 Thessalonians 3:10
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Our jobs, however, are not necessarily the most important aspect of our calling. First, we must remember that work is not limited to paid work. The work God leads us to maybe unpaid work, such as raising children or caring for a disabled family member or tutoring students after school. Even where we are called to paid work, God probably doesn’t call many of us to jobs that would prevent us from also serving others through volunteering.
In fact, if you have a paid job, the most important work God calls you to maybe outside that job. Your job may meet your need for income — which in itself fulfills part of God’s command to work — but it may not fulfill all the other purposes God has for your work. We have seen that caring for children and for aged or incapacitated people is a kind of work, and many people who do it also have another paid job. On the other hand, a so-called hobby could also be the most important work God is leading you to. You might work at writing, painting, music, acting, leading a youth group, volunteering at a historical society, maintaining a nature preserve or a thousand other vocations. If something like this is your calling (your passion), you are likely to engage in it in a much more intentional and serious way than someone to whom it is a leisure activity.
Even if God leads you to a particular job or profession, you will need to set limits to that work to make room (leave margin?) for the other elements of God’s call or guidance in your life. If God leads you to be married and to be a small business owner, for example, then you will have to balance the time and responsibility to both callings. Work should not crowd out leisure, rest and worship. There is no formula for balancing work and the other elements of life. But take care not to let a sense of calling to one vocation blind you to God’s calling in the other areas of life. Simply, you need to leave some space for God to fill.
What does it mean to be called by God?
Your calling is how God created you to worship Him, serve Him, honor Him, and give glory to Him in everything that you do.
What kinds of things does God call us to?
2 Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
Here are a few Bible verses about God’s calling for our lives, no matter who we are or where we live!
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
1 Corinthians 7:17
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
His call today is to all those redeemed by the blood of Jesus to showcase to our world God’s mercy, grace, and salvation (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:16).
God is far more involved with His universe than some would like to think. Isaiah 46:9–11 are key passages that remove all doubt about God’s sovereignty:
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.
David Guzik, in his commentary on these verses, shares, “God isn’t just watching the entire parade of history, He is directing the parade.”
Even though He has given humankind the freedom to make choices, His choices have already been made (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:10–18). “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
Does God Call Us to Things Besides Work?
We are called by God to salvation. In fact, the Greek word,“Ecclesia,” translated “church” in the New Testament means “a called-out assembly.” The call to salvation involves conforming us “to the image of his Son.” His call to salvation is part of an eternal plan for us that guarantees our inheritance in heaven:
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29–30).
Every Christian has a calling on his or her life. We were designed before the foundation of the world to be His workmanship, glorifying Him as we bring forth the fruit He desires (Ephesians 1:4–5; 2:10).
God’s specific call for us to serve usually begins with a burden for a particular need that relates to the kingdom of God. Some are called to the political arena or to end human trafficking. Others are called to be pastors, teachers, worship leaders, Bible translators, or to a host of other avenues that honor the Lord. Each one utilizes the gifts the Spirit has given.
How can we know that a call to a specific area of service is of the Lord?
We discover our call to a specific area of service by walking closely with the Lord, practicing obedience, and offering ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1–2; Colossians 1:10). As we develop sensitivity to His voice, we move forward with what we know. When our hearts are set to obey the Lord, He confirms His call in a variety of ways: godly counsel, natural gifting, fruitful results, Scripture, and a sense of “rightness” that does not conflict with any of the other confirmations.