Tuesday, November 12, 2013

God's "Call" is Already Revealed

            Christians often say, “I don’t know what God’s call for my life is,” or “I’m praying God will reveal His will to me.” These statements came to mind this morning as I read Ephesians 4:1-7. Verse one begins with:

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

            Let’s stop right here. What is the calling we have received? To be a prisoner for the Lord (notice it doesn’t say “of” the Lord).

Many of us fail to see this essential fact of “calling.” We narrow our definition to the point where sometimes we don’t live out Christ on a daily basis because we haven’t recognized that to live Christ-like--a prisoner for him in all things--IS our call. 

We wonder why we are not living victorious Christian lives. It is because, I believe, we are focused on discerning and praying about our “call from God” when our call from God is not any great mystery; it’s all over Scripture, right under our nose! We don’t recognize it because we have put parameters of time, circumstance and place around it: “Where are you calling me, God?” “Are you calling me to get married?” “When will you call me to Africa? (or maybe you are calling me to China?)” “When will you call me to get married?” “When will You reveal your will to me!”

Can we really expect to land the specific calls if we aren’t even intentional about the general call to a daily Christian life right where, and with whomever, we are?

            So what does being a prisoner for Christ look like? Ephesians 4:2-3 tells us quite clearly:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
         But God doesn’t stop there: 2 Peter 1:3-11 is a clear picture of consistent, moment by moment living out our call of God:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Whew! Now I know why we are so preoccupied with praying for God’s call to a place, a ministry or some other future event! It diverts and distracts us from the hard work of living out God’s calling now, as Ephesians 4 and 2 Peter present it.
So now we know what the call looks like and what is expected of us. We also learn, in Ephesians 4:4-6 what we are called to:
 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
         But how do we live it out? Ephesians 4:7 tells us:
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

So we have no excuse. The grace of Christ has already been apportioned to us (“has been given”). The answer to “What is God’s call for my life?” is this: We are to be already living it out.  

Additional verses revealing God’s will for us now:

"It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
“...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 5:15