“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
Yours and mine.
You know the word. If you’re immersed in pop-Christian culture, then you’ve heard it before, probably even received some preaching about it from the pulpit. It certainly is the topic of many current best-sellers, Bible studies, devotionals, and self-helps all determined to aid you in your exploration toward discovering what yours is…
I can hardly abide the word. It makes me bristle each time I hear it used in casual word-toss amongst Christians. Not because I don’t believe in its validity—that, in fact, each one of us has a calling—but rather because of the way its intentional “push” is leaving so many of us feeling diminished. As if, somehow, we’ve missed the mark when it comes to our relationship with Jesus and just exactly what that means for us as it pertains to our doing something for the kingdom in keeping with our conferment.
Over and over again, I receive e-mails and comments regarding the issue; words like:
I’m afraid I’ll miss my calling.
How do I know what my calling is?
I know that God has called me to something, I’m just not sure what it is.
Words like that. And I feel the pain of those who utter such confusion, because I, too, have spoken similar uncertainty in recent years. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the issue, sweating through the issue, praying about the issue, purchasing and working through the issue via some valuable resources, all to arrive at a similar conclusion about the issue of my calling: that, apparently, I’m not there yet. That what I’m doing for Jesus doesn’t match up with what the experts are saying. That according to them, I’ve yet to really take hold of what my calling is because there remains a restlessness within my spirit. That because I don’t have clearly defined goals in place and that because my “passion and pulse” have yet to be fully determined, then I’ve got some more work to do. That if I’ll just keep reading more, practically “applying” more, jumping through spiritual hoops more, then maybe, at the end of it all, I’ll find what I’ve been longing for—God’s more for my life.
Oh my good friends, what a dangerous and willing slope we often stand upon when it comes to God’s “calling” upon our lives. What a tragedy to live beneath the weightiness of such burden. We’ve made God’s calling upon our lives a cumbersome yoke around our necks. We’ve made it too hard to understand, too glamorous, too glitzy, too elite to attain. We inadvertently have reserved it as something for those who are seemingly more seasoned in their walks with God—those who hold the market on righteousness and faithful living—all because we have decided that our spiritual temperature isn’t yet hot enough to warrant kingdom effectiveness.
Instead of feeling relieved after our careful examination of the Christian “calling,” we often conclude such contemplations feeling diminished. Less than. Under used and as having “missed the mark” when it comes to our Father’s plans for our lives. We dangerously compare ourselves to others, wondering that if somehow we could be more like them, then surely, we’d have some peace regarding the issue. But the truth is, the more closely we examine our lives in relationship to others, the more willing we become to concede our limitations and minimize our worthiness.
And then there we are… stuck in confusion, pained by our ponderings, and begging the Lord for clarity regarding our callings.
And then there, too, is God… stuck in our confusion, pained by our ponderings, and longing to bring clarity regarding our callings, because he, unlike the experts of today, has kept it pretty simple.
His theology isn’t weighed down by a lifetime of good study, marketable research, fads and trends and buzz words. Unlike us, God has little regard for five-step programs or carefully administered checklists when it comes to his calling upon our lives. God doesn’t need the benefit of our wisdom and our well-intentioned efforts as it pertains to helping ourselves and others determine his intentions for us. God, simply and profoundly, boils “calling” down to two words.
That’s it, and it’s enough… at least it is for me. When I came to this realization a couple of years ago, I was freed from the burden of my “calling” as it was being purported within Christian circles. I no longer carry the struggle of having to figure mine out, because in knowing God, I know more and hold more than I will ever be able to fully administer to others in my lifetime. I don’t have to go searching for my calling and what that will look for me in the days to come. I simply have to know him more today than I did yesterday and then, out of that knowing, lead others to know the same.
It’s what Jesus Christ prayed for in his garden moments before his crucifixion. That we, believers in a season yet to come, would know him and his Father… intimately (John 17). That we would share in the love and knowledge of a relational God who longs to reveal himself—his character and his heart—to his children. That the overriding “passion” and boast of our hearts would not be regarding our wisdom, our strength, and our riches, but that instead our boast would be in our understanding and knowing God (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
And that with that being said, even more so lived, we walk in our callings. Not perfectly, but more fully as God intended. Daily stepping alongside Truth, so that with every breath we take, every thought we think, every word we speak, we do so knowing that God hovers in close proximity to our frames, making sure that we get it right. Get Him right.
Knowing God, and then out of that knowing, leading others to know the same.
This is my life calling. My freedom shout. My willingness to believe it’s just as simple and as beautifully profound as it writes and reads and sounds. May God grant me, perhaps even you, the courage to walk his depth and breadth for as long as the earthen sod tarries beneath our feet. May you know God more today than you did yesterday, and may you harbor the expectation of tomorrow’s knowing as sweet promise in your heart.
Knowing God. If you are headed in that direction, friends, then you are walking your calling.
Keep to it. Keep to the glorious revelation of our King. I’ll meet you on the road. As always…
Peace for the journey,
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