Note: this is a summary of a sermon I preached from Jeremiah 1. You can listen to it on the Bergen Church website.
If you have begun to follow Jesus and trust in him, you might be asking yourself, “what has God called me to do?” It’s a good question.
The typical next step when asking this question is to take a spiritual gifts or personality test to determine how God has wired you. Maybe that’s helpful, but more often than not we need to forget about those things while we think about what God has called us to. It is hard to shake this way of thinking, but we need to think less about our role in our society and more about our relationship and identity in Jesus.
Os Guinness, in his book titled The Call, defines calling as “the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to His summons and service.” (p. 29)
He explains that there are two levels to being called by God. The first level is a general calling that is the same for all people. It is a calling by God, to fellowship with God and to live entirely for God. It is the call from Jesus to follow him and to live according to his way. It is the call to learn the teachings of Jesus and to depend on the Spirit of Jesus as we journey through life.
God is asking all people to answer his call, to live a life of complete devotion to following Jesus, and to leave the outcomes to God. Oswald Chambers says it this way: “the one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for him.”
Our primary call is to be in fellowship with our Creator.
But there is a second level of calling, which is more specific. The second level of calling is about what the first calling of God looks like on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis.
It is, in considering who God is as completely sovereign, thinking, speaking, living, and acting entirely for God in everything we do and everywhere we go.
When we submit ourselves to the primary call to follow Jesus and be devoted to satisfaction in God, we will soon discover that the second level of calling moves forward in a way that is almost indiscernible at first, except by reflecting on the past.
Os Guinness explains that answering the call of God is “by its very nature a stepping forward to responsibility… We have heard the call, and we acknowledge and assume our responsibility. We are responsible to God, and our calling is where we exercise that responsibility.”
A stepping forward to responsibility. Hebrews 1 says, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.”
The word of God has come to us, and we are called by God to proclaim the gospel. We have a responsibility to respond. We are witnesses to the greatest and most important truth ever proclaimed, and we have a responsibility to pass on that truth.
Each of us is called by God in a general sense to be devoted to following in the way of Jesus. But each one of us is also called in a very specific way. But it is not completely about what we do. It is about living in such a way that bears witness to the power of Jesus and the life of Jesus.
So, regardless of what you find yourself doing, ask God, how can I invite others into this fellowship I am enjoying with you? And then look for opportunities to bless others with the presence of Jesus.