What is the Call of God?

Dear Pastor,I understand (and have been told many times) that God “called” me … He has a plan for me … And that he has a purpose for me. Can you explain this to me and how am I to respond? - Sincere Christian.

Dear Sincere Christian,

Thank you for your question. It is an important one, and one not many people spend a lot of time on. Hence, they may only have a hazy idea.

The concept of “calling” is a New Testament expression. It has a definite, technical sense -- the invitation given to men by God to accept salvation in His kingdom through Jesus Christ. This invitation is given outwardly by the preaching of the gospel (“faith comes from hearing”) and inwardly by the work of the Holy Spirit (“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it”).

One well-known Christian author and Bible teacher defines the call of God as, “the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is ... lived out as a response to His summons and service.”

He explains, “This calling is at two levels: The first is our primary calling as followers of Christ, and the secondary calling is the daily living out of our personal gifts and abilities in such a way that God is glorified (our vocation).” (The emphasis here is added by me.)

According to this definition, there are two levels to this calling - the primary and the secondary. In our response, the challenge is to keep the two levels together. To properly and correctly respond to this holy calling, you need to keep in mind an important principle: that you cannot separate your secondary level calling from your primary level calling.

The challenge for you (and all other sincere Christians) is to remember that God calls us first to Himself and then, in our response, to do everything for Him. Can you imagine what will happen to you and to the Church, if everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is lived for God?

The Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV). You were chosen, you are to proclaim!

Therefore, for your personal application, you need to remember that you have but one calling (though it exists at two levels.) And today (and every day), you can think about one thing that you could do that would help you see everything you do as an opportunity to glorify God.

Sincerely in Christ, Rev. Robert Chew