Are you waiting for God’s call, or is God waiting for your obedience? This is an interesting question particularly as we consider how language about one’s “calling” has attracted a certain nuance regarding our expectations in our relationship with God. We speak of being called into ministry or being called as a missionary as if it were a vocation limited to a select few. While this is not intentional, we create a scenario where we must know what God has planned for our lives. We may even live out this scenario by planting ourselves and not moving forward unless we have a clear call from God.
“Are you waiting for God’s call, or is God waiting for your obedience?”
The way we use the word “calling” today does not give a complete picture of what it means to be called by God. Calling in Scripture has more to do with our status, that is, our identity in God rather than a decision-making process. We can’t deny that biblically and historically God calls people for tasks, however the sequence in which this takes place is important. God calls people to firstly be something. The doing follows.
Our issue is that we live out this sequence in reverse: we spend more time focusing on what God will have us do than understanding the implications of what type of people He has called us to be.
Examples in Scripture (Rom 1:1, 6; 1 Cor 1:2, 9; Gal 1:6; Col 3:15; 1 Thes 4:7; 1 Tim 4:7; 6:12; 1 Pet 2:9; 2:21) address our limitations on how we use this word “calling”. The picture we see here is broader, yet fundamental to our identity. As opposed to our emphasis on receiving direction for what to do next, we read that our calling is our status in Christ. The former amplifies an individualistic approach to ministry and mission, the latter reminds us that our identity is locked in the context of community. The reason I am called to fulfill a kingdom task in God’s eyes is the result of my status in Christ’s community.
This brings us back to the earlier question regarding God’s call and our obedience. Rather than waiting for an experience where God calls you for something, consider the implications of obeying what God has already called you to be. A good place to start is to address the needs that are in front of you. May we continually seek to obey Him who has already called us because of Christ