Tuesday, March 1, 2011

By the will of God.

In my own personal Bible study I've been reading the book of Colossians. The way I'm doing this is the method suggested by John MacArthur in his book How To Study the Bible which is taking a book of the New Testament and reading it all the way through for thirty days straight. Of course, with the longer books it is recommended that you split it up into sections and read each section for thirty days. However, with Colossians it is easy enough to read it completely through each day. To say the least this has been a wonderful exercise in reading God's Word and it is amazing to see how different things stand out each time a book is read.

For instance, today as I began Colossians something jumped out at me in the very first verse. Here Paul is giving his introduction and he says this, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother." Paul was claiming that his apostolicity was not based on his own desires of dreams or those of people close to him. It was based solely on the call of God upon his life. I would wager that if Paul had his way his life would have looked very much different than the way it turned out. If you read 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 you will find that Paul did not have a life that was easy by any means and only the most sadistic person would desire such a life if they had their choice in the matter. Yet, he endured all that hardship because he had an unmistakable call upon his life from the God of the universe. It may not have been what he dreamed about as a child in Tarsus, or what he envisioned as a career as he studied under Gamaliel but once the call was given he never turned back.

My question for you today is this: what is God's call for your life? All to often we misunderstand the idea of a call from God. Many seem to think that God only calls preachers and missionaries and pastors. This is dreadfully far from the truth. God calls all of His children to a specific purpose. Look at 1 Corinthians 1:26, "For consider your calling, brethren..." Here Paul is not writing to a group of pastors or preachers. He is writing to one of his beloved churches which would be full of people with various careers and vocations. In Ephesians 4:11 he continues on this theme and writes, "And He gave some to be apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers." None of these callings, less maybe pastor, must be carried out exclusively in the Church. God has given His people diverse gifts and placed them in diverse places in order to facilitate the increase of His kingdom. The question is; what is your calling and how, then, can you carry it out where you are right now? Now, it may be that you are not in the place that God wants you and it will require a change in your life. It certainly did for Paul and so it is not unreasonable to believe that He may move us. However, we must be absolutely certain that God hasn't placed us in a certain job or career path so He can use us there. Remember the story of Esther and how she was placed in the king's palace "for such a time as this."

Now, I must mention this. There is one call that is placed on all believer's lives from the moment that we except Christ as our Lord. This is the call of the Great Commission. None of us can opt out of sharing the Good News because we've not been called to be "an evangelist." We have all been called to go and make disciples regardless of the other specific call God gives us. One of the gravest mistakes we continue to make as a body of believers is to assume that evangelism is only for preachers or pastors or vocational evangelists. There is no distinction in God's economy when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel to the world.

So, today, I ask you this; what are you "by the will of God"? What call do you believe He has placed on your life? Is it to be a teacher, or a business person, or a mechanic, or a writer, or a parent, what is it?

Godspeed,
Christian

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