Ever wondered how we discover our calling? We asked Chris Fox to explore this question, and asked him how our desires can show us what our purpose may be.
I’m often asked by the young adults that I work with on the New Wine Discipleship Year, ‘What does God want me to do with my life?’ This is a question about our calling. Sometimes we can hope that God might download a plan for our life that we’ve just got to make happen. But I don’t think that’s how God works with us. God doesn’t just give us a plan. Catherine of Siena famously said, ‘Become who you were born to be and set the world on fire.’ God calls us into relationship and invites us to join with Him in seeing his kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus called the 12 disciples to be with Him (that’s relationship) and to go out and do the things that He was doing (that’s calling). Our calling always comes out of our relationship with God. And it’s from this place of relationship, spending time in God’s presence in prayer, that we discover the call of God on our lives. God speaks to us as we seek Him. The most important question we can ask ourselves is this: how is your walk with God? Are you spending time with Him?
Our calling comes as we get the heart of God for people or a place. We get something of the heart of God for our school, university, workplace, family and community as we pray for God’s kingdom to come there. Our calling doesn’t come from a good idea, or a chance to be successful, or even a suggestion from others. It comes from a place of prayer, worship, fasting and encounter with Jesus. What or who does your heart break for? Who do you pray for most often? These things can point us to our calling.
We can be ‘called’ by God to do all sorts of things - our gifts, desires and circumstances can be great signposts to our calling. In the Bible, we see Joseph called to manage crops and food in order to save a region from famine. Daniel is called to give wise advice to kings and rulers. Nehemiah is called to oversee the rebuilding of a city. Depending on our gifts, skills and qualifications, we might be called into industry, education, creative arts or to community development. Wherever we are sent and whatever we are called to, it will involve praying for and seeking to live out something of the kingdom of God.
The greatest challenge to living out our calling is not struggling to know what it is - God will show us if we are willing to listen and live it out. However, when God calls us we often have to overcome our fear. Overcoming fear doesn’t require more courage, it requires more love. It isn’t courage that sends us into a burning building to rescue someone – it’s love. Love enables us to live out our calling in the face of our fears. John tells us that perfect love casts out all fear.
We all have a calling - firstly to be in relationship with Jesus, and from there to bring something of His presence and life into the world. As we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness we’ll discover the call of God on our lives.