December 29 I Sunday
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” —Proverbs 16:9
Every Christian has a divine calling in that we are to be disciples for Christ. In our zeal to serve Him, we sometimes conceive our own plans and believe it to be God’s calling. The question is then, how do we differentiate between God’s calling and our own ambitious plans to serve Him?
A calling from God is given to each of us uniquely. Sometimes in a vision, other times it may come in the form of godly advice from a trusted friend, and still others experience a persistent tugging in their hearts, pulling them in a certain direction. Paul was irresistibly called by God and we want the same, but are the plans we have in mind what we want or what God wants?
One of the best verses in Scripture that will aid us is discerning God’s personal will is found in Proverbs 3:6, which says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). Guidance is not a static act. It is a living process of the Holy Spirit, leading and directing our way. A calling from God will always be for the benefit of others, and will take us deeper into the heart of God and His agenda for this world.
There are four questions we can ask ourselves. Firstly, is what I have in mind consistent with all of Scripture, and not just a verse or two? Secondly, what do my inner convictions say? While inner convictions are subjective and therefore unreliable, Scripture is objective and utterly reliable. Thirdly, what are my present circumstances? Do they allow me to venture out for God without neglecting obligations in circumstances and relationships? Fourthly, what do my family and close friends say? Proverbs 12:15 says, “…the wise listen to advice.” But it is advice and not instruction we are looking for—we must own the decision.
When it comes to visions, the best we can do is pray about them and not dwell on them. We tuck them neatly away and wait to see if doors will open to lead us in that direction. Perhaps nothing will come of it, and other times it may take years before we see the vision become reality. We will not likely be 100 percent sure of God’s calling until we are about 90 percent sure and step out in faith. Confirmation usually comes in retrospect. When all the pieces have fallen in place, we can look back and see that God has indeed led us. He is the orchestrator and His divine calling for us is one He will initiate and bring to fruition.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I want to serve You in a manner in which You have called me. Help me to discern your voice and to step out in faith. Thank You, Lord.