If you grew up in church, you heard many religious phrases that subconsciously shaped your thinking, such as “born again,” “decisions for Jesus,” or “joining the church.” One of these is is “called into the ministry,” a phrase which I now find highly misleading. I am convinced that God has called the entire body of Christ to ministry, not just the few whose talents lead them to be pastors. Some followers of Christ are called to various specialized functions, but every one of us has a responsibility to edge with God’s work in the world. There is within each of us a longing, a deep inside that calls us to something unknown. Throughout our lives, we may get glimpses of it, and it draws us forward to an undefined goal. C.S. Lewis attempted to describe this longing when he first experienced it as a child:
‘It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation that came over me; Milton’s “enormous bliss” of Eden…comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?…Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse withdrew, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased.’
For most of us, calling is something like this – a deep, private, personal longing that brings everything together in a single experience of great significance. God calls every one of us in many ways, often using these undefined longing we tend to ignore or pass over as mere feelings of the moment. Those who wish to follow God must learn to develop sensitivity to these moments, and when they come, to tune their ears to God for his call.I am convinced that God has called the entire body of Christ to ministry, not just the few whose talents lead them to be pastors. Click To Tweet
When you are seeking God’s call, your skill, vocation, and passion are critical. But undergirding all of this are four things that are essential to hearing God’s “full counsel” for your life.
1) The Importance of Prayer
Prayer is where it all starts. When our hearts are clean and our lives are an open book before God, He will often speak things in our hearts that gives us a sense of where he is leading us.
2) The Guidance of God’s Word
Scripture is indispensable. For most major decisions, God will often give me a verse or a particular passage of Scripture to meditate on.
3) The Council of Other People
Proverbs says that there is safety in the presence of many counselors (Proverbs [11:14]; 24:6). This isn’t to say that God won’t call you to do something that goes against the counsel of other people. But a wise disciple of Christ will often seek counsel from people they know and love.
4) Divine Intersections
Finally, I frequently keep my eyes open for God’s mysterious work – those divine intersections. Sometimes God has place something on my heart, something I can’t let go of, but I have no ability to do anything about it. The next thing I knew there are people, resources, and situations emerging, beyond my control that are causing significant changes.
What is God calling you to do? Specifically, what is God calling you to do TODAY? Be obedient and let God fulfill the longings you have.
Discover more about unleashing vocational influence in the book:
Real Time Connections by Bob Roberts Jr.