“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14
Paul was confident in his calling from God. That day on the road to Damascus changed his life, and he never forgot it. Paul had a clear sense of God’s specific calling on his life. Yet, for many of us, the call of God on our lives can seem unclear. Maybe you have asked the question, “Am I called?”
A Definite Call
God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus was not exclusive to Paul. If we have trusted in Christ, it also applies to us. You have been called. This week’s memory verse shows us that God has saved us and called us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). If you have been saved, you have been called. You have been set apart. And you have assurance of the completion of your calling (Romans 8:28-30).
A Divine Call
Not only have you been called, but God is the one who has called you. If you get a call on your phone, the person making the call plays a part in whether you will answer it. If you don’t know the number or are certain it is a spam call, then you are probably going to ignore it. However, if you know the person calling, and they are important, you are likely going to answer. If the heavenly, holy calling that we have received is from God then that is a call we cannot ignore.
A Directional Call
So, we know we are called, we know that God has called us, but what has He called us to? Specifically, Paul knew that God called him to be an Apostle. However, there was a more general call on his life that came before his specific calling. God’s call was a “heavenly” or “upward” call. D.A. Carson helps us understand this calling when he says, “The word heavenward indicates both the direction of the call and the origin of the call.”* The direction of our call is toward God. Our calling is not an earthly calling, though it is lived out on earth. We are called to live, work, play, serve, and worship with a focus on eternity. Our calling is not temporary but eternal. We set our eyes not on the things below but on the things above (Colossians 3:2). If you want to know God’s specific call in your life, the first step is to grasp and pursue this general calling for all followers of Jesus.
You don’t need to question your calling. God has called you. Your calling is to live out your salvation, pursuing a life that imitates Jesus in confidence that God is going to complete that call. As you live out this call, pray that God would reveal the specific calling he has for your life. When we obey the general call of God on our lives, we shouldn’t be surprised when the specifics take care of themselves.
*Hansen, G. W. (2009). The Letter to the Philippians (p. 257). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
"He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his purpose and grace which has been given to us in Christ Jesus before time began." -2 Timothy 1:9
By Brock Caldwell