“I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.”
-– Moses -–
As a young man, the nagging question I asked myself many times walking a few blocks to High School each morning was – What am I supposed to do with my life? As I pondered this question, at times I felt an inner voice affirming I was created for a purpose. At the time, I did not know what my purpose would be. I only knew this life had more to offer me than the current offerings that were coming my way. A few years after High School, at the age of twenty, my soul-searching phase came to a sudden end, as I devoted my life to Christ. Within a few months I felt a strong urge compelling me to serve a higher cause. I soon discovered my calling and the spiritual dimension were inseparable. Before Christ I had chosen a career in Law Enforcement, an area of my personal interest at the time. In Christ, however, my calling was made clear to me by divine revelation; delivered through a penetrating voice, which resounded within, filling me with dynamic life purpose. A voice spoke to my inner being leaving no doubt in my mind of what I was supposed to do with my life. A “call or calling” is simply a Divine invitation for you to participate in the greatest adventure of your life.
One’s call or calling has its origin in eternity before God created time and space. Lucifer’s rebellion established the need to confront and expunge evil from God’s presence forever. To establish and advance truth and righteousness God created a plan to overcome and destroy the works of evil. God made this redemptive provision possible through His son before time began, which also had you and I in mind – we would receive declarative powers to become His Ambassadors of light in the natural realm penetrating and pushing back the Kingdom of darkness. Calling exists because evil exists. Calling exists because we live in a chaotic, broken and unstable world, which God loves and has a redemptive plan and purpose through his chosen ones.
A call or calling can be defined as God’s eternal design or pre-existing purpose for your life; spoken before time began with the aim of displaying His magnificent glory through you. Once you find your life’s calling, you will have found something of value to focus upon, where you can channel your time, energy and talents in a seemingly effortless way. If you are reading this sentence, then you have a purpose beyond your wildest dreams, which was designed in eternity. If you are alive then you are destined to hear, engage, and manifest God’s ordained plan for your life. You see God can manifest His calling for your life in many ways, for God’s forms of speaking are as varied as the languages of the earth. God is not limited on how He reveals His purpose for our lives. Here are some ways God calls people to manifest destiny:
- God’s Voice – Abraham heard God’s voice to leave his father, family and country and traverse upon a journey with God in a foreign land.
- Unusual Encounters – Jacob was given a new name and identity after he wrestled with God’s angel through the night (Genesis 32:24-30).
- Curiosity – Moses was summoned by a burning bush, which was not consumed by a fire. This strange thing caused him to wonder about it and seek it out for himself.
- Angelic Visitation – Gideon was called to a great work by God’s warrior angel (Judges 6:11).
- By Revelation – The prophet Isaiah was called from his mother’s womb, where God made mention of his name (Isaiah 49:1). He discovered this truth by a radical heavenly vision, which was first spoken in eternity.
- Early Life Signs – Jesus, at the age of twelve, spoke to the teachers’ in the Temple, who were amazed and astonished by his level of subject mastery and communication of truth (Luke 2:46,47).
- A Blinding Vision by Day – Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, encountered a bright light and heard a voice from heaven (Acts 9), drawing him out of sterile religion, into his new life in Christ.
- Prophetic Interruptions – In the first chapter of Luke, we see a combination of angelic visitations visiting Zacharias and Mary announcing heaven’s will concerning the miracle of birth for both parties. These children were given their specific role in world before their birth. We also see a prophetic utterance by Zacharias, and a prophetic song by Mary over the futures of their children.
Some people sense a calling early in life and have their entire lives to manifest it, while others manifest their calling towards the end of their life’s journey. For example, Mozart, the child prodigy displayed early life signs of calling. When most parents in our day are registering their five year olds for Kindergarten, Mozart was already composing music. President Ronald Reagan, the fortieth president of the United States, was inaugurated President at the age of sixty-nine, within a few weeks of turning seventy. President Reagan spent his septennial years inspiring millions of Americans by leading the greatest nation on the face of the earth to economic freedom and world prominence. President Ronald Reagan manifested his calling all his life but entered his peak-influencing phase of his calling late in life when most people are relishing their retirement. God’s call to duty can come at any time, and can be expressed in various forms because God’s ways of getting your attention are so diverse. Will you be ready to capture the voice in the wind when it brushes upon your heart and soul?
Calling is like the wind; depending on its velocity and volume one can be overpowered by its strength or seduced by its subtle breeze. Some people need to hear it vociferously while others are drawn by its breezy calm. Biblical scholar Steve Thompson, in his book You May All Prophesy, clearly distinguishes the three voices of God. God’s voice can be defined as:[i]
- A still small voice of God – This is the soft and gentle voice of God, which comes as we wait upon the Lord in prayer or meditation. It comes internally and quietly.
- An internal audible voice of God – This is often a loud booming voice, not coming through our thoughts, but instead cutting through and interpreting them.
- The audible Voice of God – Difficult to describe, except to say if you only think you have heard God speak audibly, you have not. When he speaks in this fashion, all thought and doubt is removed.
When God speaks to you directly, He awakens the seeds of destiny embedded deep within our spirit. You and I are responsible to sense the rumbling of this seed awakening from within, to stir and nurture its flow by faith and action. The voice in the wind may not always come directly from God’s mouth as an audible voice but indirectly through a compelling need, the sight of an injustice or when freedom is being threatened. Let’s take a look at a young shepherd boy’s calling.
A Simple Errand Revealed Calling
The shepherd boy David discovered his calling on assignment when his father, Jesse, sent him on a reconnaissance mission to find out the status of three of his enlisted sons. David was sent to the valley of Elah, where the battle lines were drawn between the children of Israel and their archrival, a people group known as the Philistines. It was during this assignment when David’s true calling manifested. As David stood among the soldiers he captured the voice in the wind via a menacing voice defying the armies of the living God. This voice in the wind immediately captured David’s attention, triggering an embedded code within him known as calling. All the sudden, David discerned a distinct nuance connecting his previous experiences with the Lion and the Bear, and this one with the menacing giant with his capacity and confidence to overcome the threat. Goliath’s reckless challenge elicited a response and strategy from David, which would launch him into the hearts of the people and his destiny. It was the behemoth’s challenge, which caused him to inquire throughout the camp on how to go about fighting the beast. This passionate inquiry brought David before King Saul who would, through a brief dialogue with David, grant the young lad permission to face the annoying menace. What started in the morning to be a menial task became an opportunity for David’s true calling to manifest. David teaches us that one must be attentive and pause to discern the opportunity before us. So don’t despise the small things handed down to you, it just maybe a test for your next promotion.
It’s one thing to hear your calling and it is another thing to manifest it. Although the multitudes championed David when he defeated Goliath, he spent the next fifteen years fighting for the manifestation of his destiny. If you think manifesting your calling is going to be easy, think again. When your calling is revealed, it is also revealed to the enemy, the savage destroyer, who will wage strategic warfare over your destiny to see it delayed, frayed or crushed entirely.
Be Open to the Call
Henry Blackaby, pastor and the author of the book Spiritual Leadership, was asked, “Well, what does it mean to be called?” Blackaby replied, “It means to be humbled and be open to learn.”[ii] This truth unveils the struggle between calling and walking in one’s call. Have you ever noticed how some great men of faith struggled at the time of their calling? Here’s the short list:
- Moses asked God, “Why me?” (Exodus 3:11); he was doubtful (Exodus 4:1); and alleged his speech was not eloquent enough for the job (Exodus 4:10).
- Gideon immediately pointed out that his clan was the weakest among his tribe, and that he was the runt of the family (Judges 6:15).
- And, at the initiation of Saul’s inaugural service to anoint him King of Israel, he was discovered hiding behind the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).
A call is a humbling experience, propelling us into a place of deep introspection, where one evaluates his or her ability to take on such a challenge. A call from God places our lives into a microscope, and all we see is our ineptitude and frail humanity. We then conclude we don’t have the goods to accomplish what God is trying to get us to do. Actually, this is an accurate assessment. We cannot do it without God’s assistance and anointing. Therefore, a call from God requires us to adopt a humble and learning posture, realizing we need his grace and empowerment in our lives to achieve the impossible.
Although God still uses certain things from our lives to accomplish his will. For instance, God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” Moses replied, “A shepherd’s staff.” God said, “I can use that shepherd’s staff.” When God called Gideon he said, “Go in the strength that you have.” Gideon had strength, but just enough to get started, then he increased his strength and passion as he journeyed on his mission in obedient fashion. God can use the small and insignificant things you possess on you or within you for his glory. The struggle is not the call itself per se, but the size of the struggle within you to initiate the demand being placed upon our life. Self-revelation of your ineptitude to heed such a grandiose call will require humility, and adopting a posture of learning as we move forward fulfilling our God-given call for our lives.
A Prophetic Voice in Literature
Have you ever watched the Lord of the Rings movie series? In the initial stage of J.R.R. Tolkien’s story The Hobbit one of his illustrious characters, a wizard named Gandalf, arrives at Bilbo Baggins’ home seeking out a lowly Hobbit to call out for an important assignment. At first Bilbo struggles with this compelling call upon his life, perhaps thinking it was too big a task for a small Hobbit like him. After Gandalf’s departure Bilbo finds himself piddling around the house, contemplating on his recent visitor’s request. Will he heed the call or continue his daily routine around his home pinning his life away doing nothing? Most of us are like Bilbo Baggins, piddling around the house without any purpose in life. After a brief time considering the stranger’s invitation, conviction and courage emerged within the lowly Hobbit. Finally, Bilbo Baggins decides to take on Gandalf’s invitation to engage in the greatest adventure of his life. As Bilbo urgently jetisons from his home along the path to meet up with Gandalf, one of his neighbors inquires out loud, “Bilbo, where are you going?” Bilbo responds with an exuberant cry of the heart, “I’m going on an adventure!” And this is exactly what God’s call is.
Raphael Santi – European Master Painter: Study for Moses in Front of the Burning Bush.
[i] Thompson, Steve (2000) You May All Prophesy. MorningStar Fellowship Church, Charlotte, NC; pg. 43, 44.
[ii] Barna, George (2009) Master Leaders; Revealing Conversations with 30 Leadership Greats, Tyndale Publishers, Inc.; pg. 56.