Most of us know The Great Commission – what most of us still struggle with is understanding what God is calling us to specifically in order to carry that out.
We want to make disciples, but sometimes it’s tricky to know where we should truly invest ourselves to move the Kingdom forward.
Thankfully, God is not a God of confusion but of clarity and peace. He calls us into His presence and into His service – sometimes in general ways, and sometimes in ways that are more specific.
The best way to learn how to discern His voice and hear how and where He is calling us to is to study the other ways He’s called people in His Word.
We’ve put together a short, 4-part Bible Study for you to mine God’s Word about the concept of calling!
There are several people in the Bible who have received their callings in rather spectacular ways: Moses, Gideon, Samuel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Paul, to name a few. Take time to study one or more of these stories. (Suggested references below.) As you study these stories, ask yourself:
- How does God call them? (Are there any patterns in how He calls people?)
- To what does He call them? (Patterns?)
- How do they respond? (Patterns?)
- What is our responsibility if we never receive a calling like they did?
- Genesis 12:1-8
- Exodus 3:1-4:18
- Deuteronomy 31:23, 34:9, Joshua 1
- Judges 6:11-7:25
- 1 Samuel 3
- 1 Samuel 16:1-13
- 1 Kings 19
- Jeremiah 1
- Ezekiel 1-3 (or 7)
- Esther 4
- Luke 5:1-11
- Acts 9:1-31
- 2 Timothy 2:2
There are three main Greek words used for calling in the New Testament. Take time to do word studies on each of these words. What do they reveal about calling? Are there different types of calling?
- kaleo (start: 2 Timothy 1: 9 [first “call”]; Romans 9:25)
- klesis (start: 2 Timothy 1:9 [second “call”]; Hebrews 3:1)
- kletos (start: Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2)
Take time to examine the beginning of each of Paul’s letters (Romans – Philemon). You’ll note that over and over again, Paul connects his calling to his identity. Consider:
- How would you explain your identity in Christ? (Do you really believe it?)
- How does your understanding of your identity in Christ impact the way you see God?
- How does your understanding of your identity in Christ impact the way you see calling?
Hopefully by this point in your Bible study, you’ll note that some people receive very specific callings, while there are also many, many general callings throughout the Bible (e.g. Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:4).
In many ways, understanding this principle is similar to understanding and claiming the promises of God.
- What general callings have I accepted? Rejected?
- Is there anything God is calling me to specifically right now?
- What happens when someone want(s) to say no or reject a calling? (We’ll get into this in our next blog!)
We hope this study helps you better understand God’s calling in your life and, as Ephesians 4:1 says, “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
*“Claiming God’s Promises” flowchart is used with permission by Eagle Lake Camps of The Navigators. Please do not reproduce in any form without written permission from Eagle Lake Camps of The Navigators. For more on claiming God’s promises see Praying Over God’s Promises: The Lost Art of Taking Him at His Word by Tom Yeakley (NAVPRESS, 2015).