Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Discerning Or Determining My Calling

Is my passion equal to God's calling? Suppose I surrender my life to the will of God, ask him to use me, and I have a great passion for a certain ministry. It could be anything from teaching to preaching, from playing an instrument to leading in worship, from working with the elderly to working with children. Does that passion mean I am called to that ministry? What if I want to be a physician, or a pilot, or a mechanic, or a guitar player, or the president? Does that passion mean I will be, or am called to be, or am gifted to be what I want to be?

I was passionate about medicine and spent all of Jr. High and High School preparing myself to enter a pre-med program, but that was not God's will. I was passionate about "fixing" people, and have degrees in counseling, but that was not God's will for my life. The apostle Paul was passionate above all his peers for the law, to be a Pharisee, but that was not God's plan for his life.

Knowing your passion is knowing a piece of the puzzle, but it is not the whole picture. Your passion does not determine your calling. Discernment is required, and discernment for a calling is never found strictly in our emotions and is never found outside the mutual submissiveness of the local church. Read the Word. Elders could desire to shepherd, but unless they were affirmed by the church, they could not, nor could deacons or missionaries or even the Apostles. As independent as Paul was, his calling was confirmed by the elders and the church in Jerusalem.

We can be misled by our passions, even when they are righteous. We need the body of Christ to help us, not to determine our course, but to help us discern the will of God for our lives.