Called, Loved, and Kept
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 parent well, to write with excellence, 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. A recent Bible study class reminded me of the opening greeting in Jude’s epistle. Jude made a point of addressing his letter to those who are called, but also loved and kept.
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.
Why does the Father “keep” us? He keeps us for His Son because we are the Father’s gift to the Son. Check out the following verses:
- John 6:39 – “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”
- John 10:28-29 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.”
- John 17:9 – “I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.”
- John 17:24 – “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.”
How did we become a gift from the Father to the Son? The apostle Paul explains this in his letter to the Ephesian church:
“He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Think about it. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a gift from the Father to the Son!
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 change the next dirty diaper, answer the twenty emails sitting in your Inbox, or make that next phone call, 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.