Very few of us ever think of pushing the ‘pause button’ on the treadmill of life and ask God whether we’re truly living our calling. Rather, it seems most of us simply expect Him to put His stamp of approval on whatever it is we’ve already decided to pursue.
Now, you may not have thought about it this way before… Leaving God out of our plans isn’t something that most of us do consciously. Nevertheless, if we go chasing after dreams that haven’t been surrendered to God, that is precisely what we’re doing.
I suspect that if you asked any given number of Christians how God led them into their current career, they would react with surprise because it’s something they’ve simply never considered. Instead of being led by the Lord, they were led by the prospects of wealth, recognition, self-realization, comfort, or security.
As Christians, we face the very real temptation of using our talents to serve ourselves and make ourselves look important rather than God. The child of God who’s artistically gifted is going to be tempted to use their talents to try to achieve fame and fortune instead of using them for God’s glory. The person with leadership skills faces the temptation of using their gifts to get applause from the world rather than to build God’s Kingdom. The Christian who’s a talented communicator will be tempted to use their skills to promote themselves and their own agenda instead of the purposes of God.
Tragically, when we fail to employ our gifts the way the Lord intended, we miss the entire purpose for which we were saved. Then, we are no different than the lost people of the world. Like them, we fail to honor the gift-Giver – even if it isn’t intentional.
So, how then, can you know you are actually hearing from God about His calling on your life? How can you know that it’s not just your ego talking?
Well, we need a clear spiritual vision in order to discern whether our dreams and goals truly are from God. Church once a week and a hurried quiet time in the morning isn’t going to do it. We’re not going to discover God’s will unless we go deep with Him.
You see, God doesn’t hide His will from those who truly want to know it. It’s not that He doesn’t speak to us – He speaks to us all the time. And He doesn’t speak with a forked tongue. His voice is never confusing or misleading. Problem is that everywhere we turn we are bombarded with competing messages about what’s important in life and what’s worth pursuing, and God’s voice is completely drowned out amidst all the noise. That’s why we don’t hear Him – or we think we hear Him when it’s really our flesh talking.
If we want to know His will, our minds need to be tuned in to the frequency of His voice. What I’m saying is that if we want to discover God’s calling on our life or some other specific of His will for us, we need to consciously place ourselves in settings where we’re going to be exposed to His Truth.
Most of us don’t spend near enough time plugging into the channels through which God’s power flows – such as praying, meditating on Scripture, reading solid Christian books, listening to worship music, taking communion, sharing our faith, discipling new believers, serving in our churches and communities, and fellowshipping with others in the family of God. At the same time, we spend a disproportionate amount of our time entertaining ourselves with the things of the world – not necessarily sinful things, but things that have no impact on eternity…
And yet we wonder why our vision isn’t clear, why our plans are falling through, and how come we can’t seem to discover God’s will for our life.
In Romans 12:2 we are instructed to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The verse continues, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” What this verse is telling us is that when we stop trying to fit into the world’s mold and instead let God use His Truth to change us on the inside, we will, as a result, be able to discern His will for us. When we are deliberate and consistent about tuning in to His voice this way, we are going to be able to hear Him loudly and clearly, and we’ll be a lot less likely to mistake the lies of the world and the flesh for the real thing.
Simply put: Spend less time in front of the TV and scrolling your phone. Spend more time in the Word, on your knees, and in the company of God’s people. That’s certainly not all there is to discovering your calling, but it’s a great place to start:) Start by going deeper – much deeper – with God.
For more on this topic, please visit Your Calling.