Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Calling

Beyond the Calling

 

There’s a lot of talk in Christian circles about being “called,” and rightly so. The Bible tells us:

  • We’re called to a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9)
  • Many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)
  • God works all things together for God for those who are called . . .  (Romans 8:28).

We’re “called” to live a certain way. We’re “called” to serve sacrificially. And we’re called to share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Every Christian has been called to serve our mighty God in a unique way. But we can become so busy fulfilling our call that we focus only on the “doing.”

We want to do better—to write well, to teach effectively, to do whatever we’ve been called to do to the best of our ability. Yet our ability is limited. We struggle with our inadequacy as we represent the King of Kings, and we seek His equipping to accomplish His purposes.

To be conscious of our calling is to serve with an awareness of the privilege of being used by God to advance His kingdom. But that’s only a partial picture of what it means to be called. In the New Testament, Jude made a point of addressing his epistle to those who are called, but also loved and kept.

“To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 1-2)

We may be so busy ministering the love of God to everyone else that it’s easy to forget we are also recipients of that same love. We are loved by the God of love, not because we serve, but because He lavishly pours out His love on us through Jesus Christ’s atoning work.

Not only are we loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), we are also kept. Our Heavenly Father sustains us and protects us. He holds us in the palm of His hand and there is no safer place to be.

He saves us by the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross, and He seals us by His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). We have everything we need to do all He has called us to do. More importantly, we have everything we need to be all that He has called us to be—chosen, loved, adopted, redeemed, and sealed.

When we understand who we are—and who we belong to—God releases His power in us and through us to serve Him. The order is important. Identity comes before service. Being comes before doing. Reveling in His mercy, peace, and love comes before ministry in His name.

Before you write your next chapter, teach your next class, change the next dirty diaper, or answer the twenty emails sitting in your Inbox, take a moment to remind yourself, “I am loved with a lavish, everlasting love. It has nothing to do with what I do, but it has everything to do with who I am: a beloved child of the King kept by His almighty hand.”

Once we understand God’s love and His keeping, we are free to serve Him without fear, equipped in every way to fulfill the purpose to which we are, indeed, called.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Dave

    Thank you for this, Ava!
    This morning, as I checked to see how our chicken had survived the low temperatures of the night, I realized many are cold, but few are frozen.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. He loves us not because of what we do, but because of who He is. Serve the Lord with gladness and thanksgiving.

  3. Karen Friday

    Ava, this is such great insight. In fact, I’m just now getting back to comment, but on a day trip Sunday, I read this to my husband in the car. He was a lead pastor for eighteen years and we have been in ministry our entire married life. This is such an encouragement:

    Before you write your next chapter, teach your next class, change the next dirty diaper, or answer the twenty emails sitting in your Inbox, take a moment to remind yourself, “I am loved with a lavish, everlasting love. It has nothing to do with what I do, but it has everything to do with who I am: a beloved child of the King kept by His almighty hand.”

  4. Nancy Head

    How wonderful that He lavishes His love on us.

  5. Yvonne Morgan

    Thank you for this great reminder. We can get so busy we forget to nurture our relationship with Christ and we forget how much He loves and cares for us. Great post Ava.

  6. Jessica Brodie

    Such a powerful and important wise word, Ava. God loves us SO MUCH.

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    Ava, such a practical, yet important, post! In a culture that values doing in order to “be” a certain kind of person, it can be quite a paradigm shift to accept that being is more important to our Father than doing. Being in Him and knowing our identity in Him definitely precedes anything we can do for Him.

  8. Melinda Viergever Inman

    When I began reading today, I discovered what I hadn’t recognized — I am greatly in need of encouragement. Thank you! This post caused my heart to swell with joy and satisfaction in the Savior and in all he is and all he does to love and to cherish and to keep us. We often focus on what we’re doing to write and to speak and to serve him, AND YET, knowing him and being loved by him and being kept by him, all of these are more significant. All of those are needful and the source of our greatest blessings.

    I love this: “To be conscious of our calling is to serve with an awareness of the privilege of being used by God to advance His kingdom. But that’s only a partial picture of what it means to be called. In the New Testament, Jude made a point of addressing his epistle to those who are called, but also loved and kept.”

    Thank you, Ava. I needed the reminder and the encouragement it brings!

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