What is your calling? How can you be sure? In reading the New Testament it is obvious that everyone is called to do many things in their Christian life. Most of the times when our calling is discussed it is something that applies to all followers of Christ alike. For example, in Ephesians 4:1 “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” In 2 Peter 1:10 Peter offered this challenge, “Therefore be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election for if you do these things you will never fall.” Interestingly the context of both these pleas about our calling regards matters of the heart and character of a person. In Ephesians he continues by saying, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” In 2 Peter one he had pleaded with them to make every effort to “Supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, at least one major aspect of our calling as disciples of Jesus is to have the heart, the character and the graces that are to characterize one as a follower of Jesus. If you looked at the heart of Jesus as he walked this earth you could use the very same aspects of character to describe him that both Paul and Peter use to describe the life we are called to live.
But both these Scriptures regarding our calling go further and lay out the goal of living this life we are called to live. Our calling surrounds the attitude and character described. But the goal of such a life in the text in Ephesians is to have unity in the body of Christ. He called it the unity of the Spirit of God that we were to maintain in the bond of peace. He laid out seven marks of the unity of the Spirit. “There is one body, and one Spirit, just as you are called in one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Notice it is impossible to maintain such unity of the Spirit without we have the heart or attitudes already described in verses 1-3. But he wasn’t through with his description of the unity that is the goal of our calling in the Lord. In verse 7 he said, “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” He then had a parenthesis to quote from Psalms about Christ ascending on high and giving gifts to men. In verse 11 he picked back up with the discussion. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
So God wants unity in the body attained by having the right attitude, based on seven fundamentals of teaching and on every follower of Christ growing up to do their part in building up the body. Ultimately the goal is for everyone to reach the point they will speak the truth in love to grow up in Christ and every member does his part to lead to the growth of the body in love.
In 2 Peter one the calling was tied to adding the graces to one’s life and Peter said if we are adding those graces constantly we won’t ever be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. One who lacks those virtues in life is blind and near sighted and has forgotten that they were cleansed from the old way of life.
Here is what is powerful it seems to me. The calling in both passages was to result in bearing fruit for Christ, or growing the body of Christ by reaching others for him. Every follower of Jesus has a calling from God to be an ambassador for Christ in the world trying to lead others to faith in Jesus. Far too often we’ve left the impression that the only ones who have a real calling from God are those called to special ministry in full-time work in preaching or ministry in the church. But if my gift from God is to be a plumber or electrician or lawyer or banker or real estate salesperson or builder or whatever you may think of, then I’m being called by God to do good work, honest, helpful to others and as a good example in that area. I’m called to use that area of work as a means of reaching out to others with the good news of Jesus. It always starts with living the life on the job that Christ would have us live. Imagine Jesus as a carpenter working alongside his dad. What kind of influence would they have on others if they did shoddy work as carpenters? Every husband and wife is called of God to be the kind of husband or wife God wants us to be, in order to help our partner in living for God. Our home is to be a missionary outpost for God. As parents we are given the huge commission to share the gospel with them and help them come to know Christ and live for him in the world.
You are called of God. You are called to be a priest of God and a missionary to the people in your world for Christ. You are called to be an evangelist to your family and friends for God. You are called to be a great worker at whatever you do to show the difference Jesus makes in your life and to use your influence as a way to get to talk to people about Jesus. Some may be called to work as a preacher or some other work for the Lord but most of us are called to be a follower of Jesus in our regular way of life. But all are God called as his children. Walk in a manner that is worthy of your calling.