When we’re operating in something God didn’t ordain for us, we won’t have power, anointing, or fruit, which leads us to be disappointed with our ministries. The meaning of the word disappoint is “defeated in expectation or hope.” I believe this is one of the reasons why we see some church leaders burn out. They’re burned out because their expectations were defeated. Perhaps they are disappointed because they pursued a calling God didn’t design for them. You see, when God calls us to a particular work, He gives us the grace and anointing to complete the task.
Additionally, we derive peace and joy from the work. When we pursue callings outside God’s anointing, there’s no grace, peace, or joy in the work. Further, you’re performing in your flesh, and your flesh will eventually wear out and become frustrated. It’s difficult to complete a work for the Lord without peace and joy because they keep you going when you want to give up and quit.
So, how can we fight against discontent, deception, and disappointment? How can we find and operate in our callings, glorifying God and blessing His people in the process?
Seek God Before Your Calling...
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you," (Matthew 6:33).
Everything flows from seeking God first, including discovering our callings. As I stated earlier, I learned about spiritual gifts in Bible study one evening. I was in my late twenties and a babe-in-Christ. It seemed everyone around me had spiritual gifts, but I didn’t see a gift in my life.
"I found these passions only after seeking the Lord and hearing His voice."As I began to grow in my walk with Christ, my spiritual gifts and calling became clearer. I discovered a teaching gift, which surprised me because I had a fear of speaking before crowds. I still get incredibly nervous before preaching or teaching. But the closer I walked with the Lord, the more assurances He gave me that He indeed called me to teach His holy Scriptures to the body of Christ. I also discovered a knack and passion for evangelism.
I found these passions only after seeking the Lord and hearing His voice. The Holy Spirit began pointing me to various Scriptures that spoke to my heart. He also led people to me who confirmed what the Holy Spirit was telling me. Yes, we can discover, embrace, and rejoice in our calling when we seek God first and let Him lead us and open the right doors for us.
Be Content with Your Calling...
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," (Philippians 4:11).
We are commanded in Scripture to be content. When we are content, we’re not easily moved by what we see or hear others are doing. I have girlfriends who are apostles, pastors, authors, speakers, life coaches, and business owners. It would be easy for me to look at what they’re doing and covet, but I don’t. Instead, I’m content with teaching the Bible in my local church. God has something special for my girlfriends, and He has something special for me too. I’m content with what He’s tasked me to do.
I urge you to be content with what He’s tasked you to do as well. Don’t fall into a spirit of discontent just because the people around you seem to have more exciting or important callings or ministries than you.
Be Confident in Your Calling...
'Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope," (1 Timothy 1:1).
Paul states succinctly that his call to the apostleship was a commandment from God. Paul was confident in both his calling and the One who called him. When we seek the Lord and wait on Him to open doors for us, we too can be confident in the ministry to which He calls us. We won’t walk in deception, deceiving ourselves and others. Indeed, we will walk in authority and power, using our wins, losses, successes, failures, up, and downs to glorify God and edify His people. We won’t let the shame of our pasts stop us from speaking God’s truth nor will we be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). On the contrary, we will confidently and boldly stand and proclaim that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Yes, seeking God first and letting Him lead and guide us is the key to being confident in His calling upon our lives.
Grace to Be"But by the grace of God I am what I am…" (1 Corinthians 15:10).
As we begin to walk in our callings, we’ll soon discover peace to be who God called us to be. I can’t tell you how much I used to strive to figure out my identity in Christ, and what He called me to be and what He called me to do. I spent a lot of time convincing people about my calling. I no longer expend my energy in that fruitless endeavor. Instead of telling people who I am, I’m much rather live out who I am what I’m called to do. By the grace of God, I am a Bible teacher. I love teaching. I enjoy teaching. And I’m happy to be a teacher of the gospel. Besides, Jesus is THE Teacher, and so I count it an honor to walk in His footsteps.
As you discover your calling, don’t fall into the comparison trap, feeling you’re not good enough or worthy enough for God to use you. Just as grace compelled Paul to say, “I am what I am,” grace compels us to declare the same thing.