What is the calling of Jesus?
This is something Christians seem to ask a lot and spend a lot of time trying to figure out. It’s important that we do not wait for some big, emotional moment or something miraculous, or a Bible college graduation before we feel we can do God’s work.
It’s actually quite simple when you read what the Bible says. In John 15:16, Jesus says to “go and bear fruit.” In 1 Peter 2:9, we are told “you are a chosen people…that you may declare the praises of Him.” First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (-all scriptures NIV) The calling of Jesus is to declare His praises, thank Him, and bear fruit (among other things).
If you simply start with those things, you will naturally begin loving and serving others as well as offering encouragement and kindness. Through this, God will reveal Himself to you and you will recognize your unique, deep calling and find a more specific ministry opportunity for your gifts and talents. Remember that you don’t have to stand behind a pulpit and preach to be doing the “call of Jesus.” Pray for wisdom and God will open your eyes!
What does the word “conviction” really mean?
The actual word means “a formal declaration that someone is guilty” or “a firmly held belief or opinion.” Christians often say “I felt convicted” when they are thinking about sinful action, but that is really not what it means. Conviction, as it is defined above, would happen after we’ve sinned. We are generally talking more about the prompting of the Holy Spirit in connection with avoiding sinful behavior and building a deeper level of intimacy with God.
Ephesians 4:27 warns us not to “give the devil a foothold (NIV)” when it is talking about allowing anger to remain in our hearts. John 8 records the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery and that the people were “convicted by their own conscience (KJV)” and did not throw the stone. These verses, and many other Bible stories, tell us that there is a point in our thinking where we move from temptation to action (or non-action). When we are convicted about these things, we have two options: we can ignore it, or respond to it. However, our response is varied based on our upbringing, education, and strength of relationship with God.
It is important to remember that conviction is not a negative thing as it is the Holy Spirit quickening us so we can remain on God’s perfect path instead of our own selfish way. It should not make you feel like drawing away from God or giving up your Christian walk. That is what condemnation does, and Romans 8:1 says “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (NIV).” Conviction serves to draw you closer to God and condemnation serves to draw you away from God.
The next time you’re being tempted with lying, or unforgiveness, or allowing some other negative behavior to remain, I want to encourage you to respond and truly think about what God’s Word says about that. God only convicts us of things which impede the growth of our relationship with Him. James 4:8 says “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” This should lead to repentance and a change of heart.
In closing, becoming more like Jesus (sanctification) is difficult and can take a very long time, even for the strongest of Christians. Don’t be too hard on yourself and make sure you’re noticing your progress more than your slip-ups.
This past Sunday we started the series called “DeepFaith2018.” In the first part of this series, we discussed having a deep commitment. It’s important that our commitment is to God and not religion or even the church. Often, we are more committed to the things we do for God than we are to Him.
In First Samuel 7:3, we read, “So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
I think it’s interesting that Samuel first gives the Israelites a choice. He says “if you are returning to the Lord.” He quickly tells them what to do in response to that choice. This is vitally important. If we are committed to something, that should be evident in the decisions we make. Finally, he makes no qualms about the fact that the commitment must be to the one, true God. Many times we fight battles that are not ours to fight and we would be doing ourselves a favour to surrender those battles to God.
I finished the message with a quote by Ken Blanchard who has published 60 books discussing Christianity and leadership. He says, “There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
Do you have someone in your life who is helping you stay accountable to your commitments?
It’s official!! A study of my book begins at Better Books and Bibles on 16th Ave! It starts Thursday January 11th at 5pm and will run for 6 weeks! Don’t miss it!!