September 29, 2016

My calling

The main speaker at a writers’ conference said that unless you were a person who could ‘not write’ then you could not call yourself a writer. I perceived that he had encountered many wannabes with a story to tell, but who did not have that compelling desire to write anything else.

For me, it was a deciding moment. I am compelled to record these devotions in writing (It was God’s idea that they be in a blog), but I am not compelled to write much else. Of my list of interests and things to do, writing moved closer to the bottom after hearing that speaker.

The Apostle Paul likely didn’t have a list like mine. He had “this one thing I do” attitude and his God-given compulsion drove him forward . . .

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Chambers says that the call of God is supernatural and may come with a sudden thunder-clap or with a gradual dawning, but in whatever way it comes, it is something that cannot be put into words.

From that, I gather that in his experience, this ‘call’ is something that you know you must do. Why or how that is known is not as important as realizing it and following through with this necessity that has been laid upon your heart, doing what God says without any “competitor” for your attention and strength.

Perhaps it is my attention deficit tendencies that prevent this kind of focus. If there is a call of God on my life, it is the call to let all things do their work to change me so that I am more like Jesus. Romans 8:28-29 was given to me right after I became a Christian . . .

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28–29)

Good or not so good, God continually brings me back to this focus . . . Be like Jesus. Yield to Him. This is God’s purpose for me.

As for Paul, he said he focuses on his call to preach, but he also said,

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13–14)

His goal was to be conformed to the plan of God. For him then, preaching was the result of being ‘conformed to the image’ of God’s Son. This is one way to be like Jesus. However, both of us have in common the desire to press on toward the prize, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

For me, that means obedience in a day-by-day, moment-by-moment manner. I may not know what I’m to do tomorrow, but I usually know what to do next.

However, I have struggled with this idea of a calling, thinking that I may have missed it. Amazing that God ended those struggles at another writers’ conference. A different speaker said something that also changed my life. Her words confirmed what I understood as my calling: “God does not call His people to be this or that; He calls us to love and obey Him. Today you might be writing; tomorrow you might be doing something else.”

This morning, I am writing at the moment, but I know what God is calling me to do next; I’m to go outside in the crisp fall air and take a long walk with my prayer list, doing what He most often calls me to do: be an intercessor who diligently prays for others.

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