Discovering My Call (Part 6)
Updated: Jan 2
What is God's plan for my life? What has he called me to do? How can I find out what his will for me is?
These questions hound infant and mature saints alike.
In this short BLOG series I have attempted to answer some these questions by suggesting that everything any one of us is genuinely called to do will firstly fall within the ongoing ministry of Jesus (outlined in Jesus's self declaration of his ministry in Luke 4:18-19 w/ Isaiah 61 and the Great Commission as outlined in Mathew 28:19ff). I believe that even in the most menial "non-Cristhian" vocation, this is at the DNA of everything we are called to do.
Secondly, I've proposed a list of questions to ask with regard to monitoring one's activities in order to clarify God's call. They may be helpful with thinking about your particular place in the Body of Christ.
They are as follows:
How do I feel after I've done it?
What is my experience of the thing while I'm doing it?
Do I sense the backing of heaven when I'm doing the thing that I'm doing?
Am I encouraged and feeling good about whatever it is I'm doing even if I'm not currently seeing fruit?
And finally we come to the last question:
Are you"fed" when preparing, doing, or reflecting on the thing that you've been called to do?
This is an interesting idea and surfaces out of a discussion that my wife and I had last night.
There is an internal synergistic thing that happening within us when we are working within the parameters of our call. It's not quite "self-pleasing" and it's not quite a "flying by the seat of your pants adventure,"either. Rather, it's something somewhere in-between - perhaps an element of fun? (I know that doesn't fly with those of us called to martyrdom, but I'd contend that even in the most dire of calls there is a sense of purpose, joy, fulfillment, adventure, and wonder all wrapped into one certain "something" through which we are affirmed and encouraged by God.) Let's just say you'd have a certain exciting sense that you are being transformed into being more Christ-like as you explore the things he has called you specifically to do.
Am I too limited in my understanding of my gifts, or do I have an unlimited understanding of a God who can use any gifts in me, as he pleases? Am I gift-centered in ministry, or am I rather centered on God's Presence in ministry?
Spiritual Gifts are given by the Spirit in order to nurture the Body of Christ and to assist in expanding the ongoing progress of Christ's ministry (i.e. the Kingdom of God). In recent years, much chatter has been going on about finding one's own spiritual gift. Most of it has been helpful because, like the questions I suggest above, they seem to clarify our positions in life within the organic life of Jesus.
At the same time these spiritual gift inventories can be limiting. For example, they only test one's past experience. That means, for example, you may have a gift of prophecy yet, because you are in a church who's theology prohibits modern day revelatory interventions, you'd never know it (generally - but my guess is that it would bleed out into other areas of your life such as relationships, dream life, etc. and you'd be known as someone who is "highly intuitive" or something like that). So while gift inventories are good, they can also you us walking away thinking you are anemic in your giftedness simply because the opportunity hasn't risen for you to step into it.
One way around that is this: don't think of yourself pigeon-holed into this particular gift or that particular gift (or gift mix) but think of yourself as a walking temple, filled with the Holy Spirit who will use you in any way he pleases. I've written a whole book on this idea - the idea that we all have accessibility to all the gifts at God's calling. But that is for another time.
Gift-Centered or Presence-Centered?
It's a subtle but important difference. If we are gift-centered we become limited. If we are Presence-centered we become unlimited. One person may say, "I wish I could do that but that's not my gift." While another may say, "The God of all gifts dwells in me through his Presence. He can raise up whatever he wants to in me at any given time and place whenever he wants to."
I believe the latter phrase is descriptive of ministry in our day and age.Definitions can confuse, but God's Presence transcends all boundaries. It also takes a load of responsibility off the one who is so adamantly seeking God's call in their life. If we are people of Presence, releasing God's love as he chooses to those around us, we need not be concerned with the specifics of the thing.
That being said (and more apropos to our discussion) there WILL BE ways that God uses you along the way that will tend to clump, or define, particular areas of calling in your life. Pay attention to that (back to the question of what is fruitful in your life). Sometimes the best learning comes from simply paying attention to what God has done, or is doing, through you.
Hope that helps!
This concludes this BLOG teaching on Discovering My Call. Please feel free to get in on the conversation. Shoot me an email and let's talk more thought this never-ending discussion!