Enjoying the Journey
When the Lord first began dealing with me about being a preacher I asked my dad, “How do you know when you are called to preach?” He gave what I thought was a vague answer at the time. “You’ll just know.” Now, I find myself giving the same answer to others! He was right. You will know. A divine call is inescapable. You can disobey it but you will know it.
For the record, I believe in a divine call to the ministry. It is my conviction that the ministry of a preacher or some other form of vocational Christian service is not something that we choose for ourselves – it is something that God chooses for us. If I did not know that this was the call of God on my life there would be a temptation to change course and do something else.
The term gets used frequently. Sometimes even flippantly. Yet God takes His calling on our lives very seriously. Study the New Testament and you will find that in one sense we are all called – called to be saints, called to be holy, called to be with Christ! Christians are a called people.
But it is also clear that there are distinct callings upon the lives of certain individuals. Paul was “called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1). No man should take a spiritual office upon himself. God calls his own servants.
Over the last few weeks I have been in a number of Christian camps and observed both young men and young ladies coming to say they believe that God has called them into His service. Some may belittle that. Not me. I know that as a twelve-year-old boy God called me into the ministry, and I have no doubt He continues to call others.
A friend asked me not long ago if I could define the call. While I believe that a call is supernatural and there are things that cannot be explained about it, I also believe that there are certain things that are identifiable. Perhaps they will help you or someone you know who is trying to understand the call of God.
A call is a God-given desire, enabled by the Holy Spirit, and confirmed by the church.
- A call is a God-given desire. One thing I have observed about the call of God is that it doesn’t go away. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). My desires come and go; they change from day-to-day. God’s desires are not this way. They come and stay. In fact, they increase.
“If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1).
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4).
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
A call is God’s desire placed in your heart. His desire becomes your desire as you seek Him.
- A call is enabled by the Holy Spirit. God always equips those He calls. A mark of the call of God is the divine enabling of the Holy Spirit. As an individual walks with God and works to become what God desires for them to be, the Lord Himself grows and prepares them. “Answering the call of God” is connected to discovering the spiritual gift that God has given you to exercise. It is more than human talent and ability.
- A call is confirmed by the church. A true call will be seen and testified to by other spiritual people. The church is the Supreme Court of the Christian life. God has designed it so that spiritual gifts are confirmed by other spiritual people and used for the benefit of all of God’s people.
In Acts 13:1-3 we read that Saul and Barnabas were set apart by the church for the work of evangelizing others. Both the church and the Holy Spirit sent them out. This is God’s way.
At every step it is the work of God. He puts the desire in your heart. He provides the enabling by His Spirit. He places a confirmation through His people.
I thank God for His call upon my life. May we never minimize the divine call, and may we never betray it.