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RESPONDING TO THE CALL OF GOD

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5

 WHAT IS A CALL?

Merriam – Webster dictionary, defines a calling as a strong inner impulse towards a course of action, especially, when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.

From this definition, one can see that a calling is perceived, as more than just a vocation or profession, we are engaged in even though it is not separate from it. It is just that, there comes a time in our lives, when we seem to search for the truth and when we develop a deep longing  to do what our omniscient God has planned for our lives, according to His Sovereign will. We desire to know that what we do, our work, our mission, is aligned with what God has ordained for our lives.

HOW WOULD WE IDENTIFY AND RESPOND TO OUR CALLING?

Understand God’s Agenda First and Align Yourself With It

From my observation, in the Bible, the word “call” is notably used when indicating God’s sovereign plan to bring people to have fellowship with him, through, according to Lasley, 2002, 201,the redemptive work of Jesus Christ

We have a general universal call to be children of God and are called into oneness with him through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Once we align ourselves with the general call, we are easily tuned into the correct frequency that will bring us into our specific call.  This response to the general call positions us for our specific call to unfold (Pst. Louis Kotzé senior Pastor of Hatfield Christian Church East and South, sermon)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 27:11).

We know He has great plans for our lives and if we do not get close to him and respond to His call we will never know what are those plans and we will never be able to live a purpose-driven life.

We must respond to the desire to have fellowship with God, which leaves us longing for His call over our lives.  We will now long and pent for the similar call that got us running away when the shame of sin was still over us, as illustrated in Genesis 3:9, in a narrative of how Adam ran away when God called him.  As implied by Spurgeon, 1998, 68, we now do not run away from God, because we are justified by His grace.  He did this by redeeming us from sin through Christ Jesus by faith.  God freed us from the penalty of our sins. If we accept Jesus Christ as a sacrifice, we therefore receive removal of God’s punishment for our sins through this perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we can be able to follow His call.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you? (Genesis 3:9).

Because we are no longer slaves to sin (Roman 6:6) we say “Abba Father” and run to Him when He calls us and since we have been given redemptive power of grace, there is now no condemnation, shame or hiding away from Him (Romans 8:1).

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father! “Galatians 4:6.

Consequently, it is important to understand that for us to need to be aligned with God’s individual purpose for our lives, we need to be aligned with His general call of His saving grace first.  The desire to do His will manifest in our lives when we are justified by faith.

Justified freely by His grace (Romans 3:24), describes what God does for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour (Bruce, 2002, 201).  We are called to respond to God’s instructions and obey His call. We need to hear the Gospel; believe it; and respond by obeying it. When we respond by faith it is counted unto us for righteousness. According to Romans 5:1 and 8:1, because we are justified by faith, we have peace with God.  We need to, therefore, allow God’s peace to lead us into all truth and remove all doubt and know for sure what our calling is and respond to it.

As alluded to, in the passages above, God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.  It was his will that we become his sons and daughters and predestined the miracle of reconciliation.  Jesus paid the price for our sins and we are free from bondage and are therefore empowered by His Holy Spirit to do what He expects from us as a participant in His Kingdom since He reigns in us.  We can now do our specific call.

Jesus came to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).  We are set apart to do His good will.   Before we can focus on our specific calling it is important to understand that we first need to be equipped for that assignment and God first us calls us to moral values calling, which will prepare us for the fulfilment of our individual assignments.

Amongst the moral value assignments, we are all called to are: fellowship with Christ” [1Corinthians. 1:9]; holiness”[1Thesolinians. 4:7]; liberty”[Galatians. 5:13]; and “virtue”[2Peter. 1:3].

God’s call to us as individual believers for a specific ministry as illustrated in the calling of individuals such as Abram out of Ur; Moses out of Egypt; and Aaron from among the Levites (Hebrews. 5:4) will only be undertaken adequately when we have responded we l to the general call and have attached to the great vine. There is a common theme of being in-tune to His will and hearing His voice if you are going to be able to respond to your call for a certain ministry, we can learn the response steps and moral values at play from Isaiah (Isaiah. 6:9), Jeremiah 1:5 to the twelve disciples to Paul (1Timothy. 1:11), amongst others.

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15)

Respond to the general call first and accept Jesus Christ as you Lord as saviour (Romans 9:10).  Spend time understanding and being transformed by the renewal of your mind and praying for the spirit of wisdom and revelation as well as the opening of the eyes of your understanding, so that you may be able to understand what your Farther in heaven requires of you.

19That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of ` mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:15-23)

ONCE WE RESPOND, HOW DO WE STAY TRUE TO THE CALL?

It is important to have fellowship with your Lord and Saviour and allow Him to guide you.

 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-9).

 There is an ultimate purpose and when we are aligned with the purpose nothing will drive us away from our calling and all things will work together for good.

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). 

For us to focus on the calling of God and enjoy the benefits of Romans 8:28 in our lives, it is important that we would be willing not to conform to any other standards that might be contrary to the word of God. Romans 12:2. It says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It is not always easy to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Jesus Christ.  It is however wise to do so because whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:23–25).

In addition, just as we cannot be able to accept the general call presented as a sacrifice and the gift of salvation if we do not have faith, we also cannot follow our specific call without faith.

Our calling will Come with the Necessary Gifts

May we always know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, God gifted us for specific things for now. He wanted you to live in this time. (Ephesians 1:17-19)

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5

 Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” God will not suddenly change his mind about what He has called you to do.  Even if you do not do it, the calling is there.

 According to First Corinthians 12:27, we are the Body of Christ and members, in particular. We each have a role to play and whatever role we are called to play we have been gifted to play as well.

 ALL THE GLORY BELONGS TO GOD

 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mathew 5:16)

 We are called to respond to God’s general call of salvation and obey His call by hearing the Gospel; believing it; and respond by obeying it as well as by attaching ourselves to the great vine, Jesus Christ while having fellowship with the Holy Spirit who will help us to fulfill our calling.

 Emphatically, as we do what God has called us to do, let us remember that are commanded to “walk worthy”of the calling we have received [Ephesians. 4:1].

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—1 Corinthians 1:20-26

May we all find our calling and live a life of integrity that is true to our core values which are based on the word of God.

 

 

 

 

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