While the church in Antioch was worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit called for Barnabas and Saul to be set apart for the task of spreading the Gospel. “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I have called them.” (vs. 13:2). In that moment, the two men found their lives purpose; to spread the Good News throughout the lands. So what about us? What is the calling and purpose God has for our lives?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day we checked our phone to find a message from God listing step by step exactly what it is He wants us to do? But that’s not how God works. Although some of us may have a Barnabas and Saul experience knowing immediately what their purpose is, others of us spend years seeking God’s calling.
Whenever I would hear people talk about how they found God’s purpose for their lives, I couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous. I didn’t understand why God made their paths straight and clear while mine remained crooked and murky. Did they have some special phone line to Heaven that I didn’t? Why were they part of the “it” crowd while I remained on the outside looking in?
I was so caught up in finding out what God had planned for me, that I forgot what His calling is truly about. It isn’t what I can do for God, but rather what God can do both for me and through me for others. For as He Himself says He, “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
In his book entitled, “Do You Feel Called By God?”, Michael Bennett says that God gives all of us the same fundamental calling. First, “we are called to be genuine disciples of Christ as our Lord”. “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) Second, “we are called to be holy and to grow in Christ-likeness. Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24)
In searching for God’s calling what I found is what He wants most of all, is a close personal relationship with me, and with you. He desires hearts that earnestly seek His will above all else. Those who eagerly spend time daily with Him and in His Word. When our focus is on Him, our hearts and ears open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who guides us in God’s direction. I’ve learned that instead of concerning myself with the plan God has for me, I need instead be ready and willing to go wherever He leads. To be like David whom God called, “A man after my heart, who will do all My will.” (vs. 13:22)
Answering God’s call means submitting every area of your life to God and being obedient to the direction of His leading. And when we follow Him the Lord promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go.” (Ps. 32:8) So let go and let God lead you. Answer His call, serve where you are, and know that there is no greater calling then bringing glory to His name!