For most of my life the number one question asked of me is “How can I be reasonably sure of God’s will being accomplished in my life?”
Further- and for me this is actually more the guts of the issue- how can I reasonably assume I’m living out HIS calling, serving as He created me to serve?
So a friend wrote me in Facebook yesterday- “would like to hear your thoughts as to what you feel makes the difference between fulfilling our specific purpose and successfully completing something of our own choosing. I feel if you are in a relationship with the Holy Spirit and in the Word and in prayer, that our choices are God honoring and within His will. Curious as to your thoughts. Thanks!”
He was responding to a link I sent up in my Twitter and Facebook feed today which was:
“Of ALL the O.Chambers I ever read (plenty!) this is word-for-word my personal life-changing fave. In surrender to Him and His confirmed call my soul has found love, purpose and meaning” And which I followed up with: “I must be about my FATHER’S business.” -Which of course is quoting Jesus Himself. The Chambers link:
HUGE subject but I’m going to really hack it in brief in this post -which means you dear reader, will have to further seek out via prayer, study of The Bible, commentaries, people you trust in leadership and so forth whether I’m on target or not.
Again, this is not a Bible study -if you’re serious, you’ll do that work as I have and do daily.
My perspective thus far is that God is, that He is perfect, that His plans for us were made prior to our being born. The number of our days are known to Him, His plans WILL ultimately be accomplished but we do indeed make choices along our path in this life.
Some of those choices were predestined, but I am personally convinced (please don’t load my inbox, I’ve been through these studies re. Calvin vs. Arminius royally!) that He has given us the ability and capacity to make wrong, indeed selfish, even sinful, damaging decisions. Therefore- as Paul comments about gold, silver, precious stones vs . wood, hay and stubble, our choices, our willingness and yes, genuine on-going desire to seek, discover and live out His will and our calling/s, ministries of service during out life on this planet is massively important.
Note, I am not here discussing salvation, absolutely not salvation by our intellect nor “worth” nor works. Rather, I am talking about path-choosing after one has repented, believed and seeks His will and specific sense of call.
His overall will is clear in scripture and even common sense: He is, He loves us, He defines sin (not us) and what a truly God-and-people-loving life is. He commands all people everywhere to repent, believe and to follow Him in personal, growing, intimate relationship with His Son, the Lord (and only possible Savior) Jesus Christ Who died on the cross for us and is risen from the grave. Jesus HIMSELF, Jesus ALONE is our salvation, redemption, justification, righteousness, heaven-Bringer. Ain’t no other according to both Jesus and His disciples.
Ok- so beyond His will that we be saved (delivered, belonging to and following Him in daily relationship of love, faith, trust, obedience)… what about what some call God’s perfect vs. permissive will?
I don’t believe God has anything but a perfect will for each human born on this earth. I also don’t think what some call His permissive will is anything less nor other than grace.
That is, when we miss it, blow it, make a wrong decision, bad turn, make God a clay ashtray (and He don’t smoke…) then what?
Simple reality is the Bible, Jesus in the Gospels and with further detail the letters of Paul and a bit from Peter all give ample clarity on the Person and work of God the Holy Spirit in and through the people of God, that is, the Church, the followers of Jesus.
God’s desire and will is not only that we believe and are saved, but that The Spirit fill us, work HIS nature IN us… and that He truly does give each one of us spiritual gifts by and through which we serve Him and others.
Those gifts are listed in pretty clear form by Paul and Peter.
“Natural” talents, learned skills or abilities come into play but ought not be confused with spiritual gifts.
Our spiritual gifts inform us of His call. Read that again please. It’s so foundational I’m amazed more people don’t teach this using that very phrase.
Our call is literally a call -which does not originate with us but from God.
We discover His will in general as well as His specific calling and gifting/s as individuals as we pray, study scripture, discuss all these things with mature, godly believers who know Father, Son, Spirit, know His Word and know us over time. The people of God we serve under/alongside of/ with along with listening to the Lord in prayer, study of His Word all help confirm our gifting/s and therefore calling.
Note- a need does not constitute a call. You can’t go anywhere among any people and not find actual need!
None of us has ALL the spiritual gifts, nor even all possible natural, human talents and abilities.
Please believe your gifts and calling are NOT a matter of hierarchy, position, who gets “the general’s stripes” and who gets the “private” rank! God creates us as HE wills and uses us, calls us, gifts us and over time (most important of all) grows, forms, reveals His Own nature (Galatians chapter 5) in the fruit of the Holy Spirit in each one who follows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The problem with all of this is of course, we aren’t always focused on Him, others, His will, our calling and simple day-to-day (and often what feels like mundane, no-big-deal work) service. Lack of character is a greater issue than wondering what we ought to do next!
You may indeed be incredibly gifted by the Spirit as well as humanly talented -and be a full-on jerk and louse of a person regarding your character. This alone should clue us as to why sin happens amongst professing Christians. God help us seek Him, walk in faith with Him, serve Him and others via HIS provision of gifts, His grace re. our human skills and most of all by growing in godly character that reflects the love and grace of Jesus!
Hopefully this can help at least give you an idea of what I believe and where as well as why I serve as I do -this has been my own experience in a lifetime of seeing God’s gracious hand in my own life as well as countless others.
Ask, seek, knock, by faith hear and obey His call. Nothing else makes any sense to me.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn