The Special Call
We are Christians who are obsessed with the will of God. We want to know what God’s will is for my life, for my family, and for my church. We want to know what the bigger picture is and not only do we want to know it now, we want it to happen now. Is it such a bad thing to focus on God’s will? Of course not!
God’s will is noble. It is the highest calling of all, and thus to be in God’s will is to be part of something grand. The issue is that we are focused too much on God’s unrevealed will (i.e. What does God have planned for my life? Who am I going to marry?). God has revealed His will through His Word. He did not lay out the complete details, but he didn’t have to. Instead, he left us only what was necessary for us to obey His will. Consider Deuteronomy 29:29 which says
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Although directed towards those in the Old Testament, the meaning is quite true today. God’s people are not required to know all of the details, but only to obey those details that God has revealed. If we follow God’s revealed will, we can expect that His unrevealed part to work out in our lives.
In this observation comes a great realization. Think about how most Christians face life’s everyday circumstances. I’m sure many of us could remember that moment when we got a bit snippy with someone yesterday. Each of us is continuously battling the flesh, and so our war with sin continues. Perhaps you can remember that difficult and trying situation from years ago. In each of those cases, how did you respond? God has revealed His will for us in each of those moments, but how often did we follow it? Most of us could say no. It’s easy to look at hindsight and know what we should have done and understand what God was teaching us. But if we are so concerned about doing the will of God in our life, why is it the first thing neglected in the individual scenes that make up the entirety of life? What has happened is that people, so concerned with the special calling that God has on their lives, neglect the general calling God has for all believers.
While we all want to be unique and different, we have neglected the calling God has placed on all believers. We want to differentiate ourselves from the group so we agonize over what God wants us to do with our lives and how that sets us apart from others. Yet, the general calling of God will direct you to the special calling, and in the process does the greatest impact for God. God’s general calling is obedience to His Word. And trust me, in today’s world, if you follow the general calling, you will still be unique. The world will see you as different.
The General Call
The general call of God is no less special because it is given to all Christians. In fact, that probably makes it even more special because it means you are participating in something far greater than just yourself. Obedience and fulfillment of God’s general calling pulls forth God’s will for humanity by impacting them with the Gospel. It is something that no individual could fulfill by himself or herself. Thus, there can be no greater call in a person’s life than the call to participate in God’s general mission.
As a participant in God’s general calling, not only is there an opportunity to impact others for the cause of Christ, but there is an opportunity to be impacted. Obedience to the calling found in the Word provides for our progressive sanctification. God uses sovereignly directed circumstances and the call of obedience to His general mission to mold us more into the image of Christ.
Finally, God’s general call provides for His glorification. Through our obedience to His general calling found in His Word, God is glorified. Beyond responsibility, we have a great privilege in glorifying God.
While the special call is important, obsession should be directed to God’s general call. The general call naturally leads to the special call. My urging for all of us would be this: do not neglect God’s general call for the sake of the special call. In all ways, at all times, and in all circumstances follow God’s general will as revealed in His Word of truth. Often times it isn’t until you participate in the general calling of the church that you begin to understand God’s specific calling for you; upon that revelation then comes greater participation as you use your special call to fulfill the Lord’s general call.