Our calling is a reflection of why we were redeemed. Do you know your calling?
If we are to be effective soldiers for Christ in these challenging days, we must keep the main thing the main thing. We have been redeemed for a purpose, and that purpose isn’t just our salvation. We have been saved from a host of things, but as soldiers for Christ, we are saved to something—our calling, which is to be proclaimers of the gospel. Our problem is that we are too focused on ourselves—what kind of person we are becoming or what kind of person we appear to be. Even if our motives are pure and we genuinely want to be a holy and righteous person, our constant morbid introspection will keep us from what matters most to our Master, Jesus—proclaiming the gospel.
God equips the called, He will equip us His way. He will purify us and make us holy. He will build our character so we are prepared for our mission. In verses 3 and 4 of Romans 5 Paul explains how God does this. He designs times of testing so we will learn to persevere when things get rough. This produces proven character. We thwart God’s plans for us when we try to build our own character by doing something more to our liking.
Cause and Effect
Our character and our holiness are effects of being redeemed, not the cause. We get things backward when we place our faith in our imaginary goodness, thinking it will make us more holy. Our Master, Jesus desires that we fulfill our calling, not show Him what wonderful bond-slaves we are. He wants our obedience, not our demonstrated goodness. If we truly love Him, we will obey Him (John 14:15). He wants us to carry out His mission for us, not to become engaged in a perpetual spiritual self-improvement program.
Paul served as a great model for us. His focus was laser sharp. He knew that he hadn’t set himself apart, but God had set him apart (from the world) and given him a calling (1 Cor. 1:17). Nowhere in all of Paul’s writings do we find him working to improve his character or striving to become more holy. He was totally focused on his calling, and he never allowed anything to get in the way. He willingly endured more tribulation than we could ever imagine, and, like Jesus, his greatest joy came from fulfilling his calling to proclaim the gospel.
One with Him
In John 17 Jesus prayed that we would be one with God and Jesus. As He anticipated the cross, this was his most important request. He knew that we would never fulfill our calling unless our oneness with Him had become a reality. God has already accomplished this when He placed Christ in us when we were redeemed and born again. Christ’s resurrected life became our life. He became one with us and us with Him. You can’t get more “one” than this. But He gave us free will. We can embrace this oneness as we choose to walk in the Spirit, allowing Jesus to live His life through us.
The only alternative is to walk in the flesh, but no one in their right mind would choose that. Really? When we focus on our own spiritual growth and character development at the expense of fulfilling our mission, we are refusing to allow God (through Christ) to mold our character as we obey and persevere through the trial that come with the territory. This refusal is a clear sign that we have chosen to walk in the flesh.
The bottom line is this: If we want to show our love for our Master, Jesus, the best way is to be totally devoted to fulfilling our calling—proclaiming the gospel to those He sends our way. He will take care of everything else including our holiness and character. We have, indeed, been redeemed with a purpose.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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