“22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.” ~James 2:22-23
Oh to be called a friend of God. By God’s grace, we are saved by faith and faith alone.
Jesus however makes it clear that our faith should produce fruit. Even Paul, the great advocate of salvation by faith says that we were saved “to do good works” and to “work out your salvation…”.
We see here the difference between “for” and “because of”. We are not to do good works “for” our salvation, but rather we are to do good works and serve God “because of” our salvation.
God honours those who serve him, but we can only do this by faith. Hebrews chapter 11 gives the most beautiful account of people’s lives who pleased God by what they were doing “by faith”. The phrase “by faith” is used 22 times in this chapter and shows us that faith is the foundation by which we should be taking action and serving God.
We see that God calls us to devote to him every aspect of our lives into service by faith. How this looks practically is often quite challenging, so let’s try and divide our perspective up into three basic calls. A call to do, a call not to do, and a call to glorify.
A call to do – our primary calling
God calls us to walk in a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. We see that God reveals this purpose for us at the beginning of creation when He roamed the earth with Adam and Eve. And we see that after the beauty that was paradise was split by sin, that God purposefully had written for us a script of redemption through Jesus crucified. God not only calls us to walk in step with him and be called his disciples, but also calls us to call others to this relationship in Christ as well.This is our primary calling in God, to be in and bring others into relationship with our God our Father.
A call not to do – our general calling
But this does not come without conditions. As God led the nation of Israel into the Promised Land, he told them that has an expectation of how they should live. We see that they had a call to holiness because God wanted His presence to be able to roam freely in and between them. Jesus came and fulfilled this and now calls each one of us to holiness, just as he is holy.This is our “general calling” in Christ, a call to holiness and to live lives worthy of the calling we have in Christ.
This is a call “not to do”, or rather refrain from doing certain things, and is fulfilled by the Holy Spirit working in us to sanctify ourselves and our lives into nearer relationship with God the Father.
Without fulfilling our general calling, it is impossible to live in our primary calling, and that is why Christ first died for us to reconcile us from a life of sin and into one justified before God the Father. But we also see that we are called to live out this general calling to holiness throughout – God calls us to live out our general calling in ever increasing degrees of holiness in order to live out our primary calling in ever increasing nearness to Him.
“8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ~James 4:8
A call to glorify – our vocational calling
These two callings exemplify the boundless grace God has for us, for we are only able to achieve both with His help through Christ Jesus. This brings us to a place of utter thankfulness and a willingness to give all to the one who gave it all for us.
But with that being said, does that mean that we all are to go into full time ministry? In Genesis 2:28 we see that God has called man to subdue the land and rule over everything. In this we see our vocational calling – a call to tend to His creation by good and beautiful works, just as He crafted the entire universe. In this we are called to reflect His glory in everything we do, whether it be ministry, businesses, law or administration.
The triune calling
If we are to live in (and bring others into) relationship with our Lord (primary calling) in ever increasing capacity, through grace and sanctification (general calling), whilst tending to His creation (vocational calling), we would be living lives that could be described as a purposeful journey – truly fulfilling the fullness of our calling(s). Our lives will be, as Jesus said, a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.
Purpose and direction
Now a windmill has the beautiful purpose of bringing life giving water out from the depths of the earth, but it would not be fulfilling its purpose without its tail fin to give direction to the blades.
“8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” ~John 3:8
We see throughout scripture that God has certain ways and that we are called to sacrifice our ways and align ourselves with His. We should be careful not to think that we can live out the calling of God on our own terms. We should be like the windmill, always aware of the breeze of God’s direction in every aspect of our walk with Him.
This is best done by aligning yourself with what God says in His word, what God is doing in His church, and what God is showing you in your spirit by His Spirit.
What God says in His Word
We often read the word for more knowledge, but do we read it and accept it as the word of God, as commands from the most high asking us for complete obedience?
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” ~Timothy 3:16-17
We see throughout Scripture that we are called to mediate on the word, day and night.
What God is doing in His Church
Once we attempt to do this, we see that God has planned for us to do this in community with each other, for the gospel is not meant to be kept for yourself. Accordingly, after we’ve taken the word of God on faith value, we are to implement it as best we can and in submission with what God is doing in and through his church in the community around you. We should accordingly also trust that God placed the leaders of our community in these positions to serve and hear from Him and to lead His people into more of what the He has planned for them as a community – actively partaking and serving.
What the Holy Spirit is showing you
We know that we are never immune to mistakes, and even the most obedient person to God’s word and the most submitted saint to God’s leaders is still capable of erring in some way. This is why we seek the perfection of God and not the imperfection of man – allowing each other the grace to be able to make mistakes. We can thus cultivate a community in which each is bold enough to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s whispers and nudges to authenticity, forgiveness, encouragement and upliftment of those walking with us.
To conclude, we are called to walk this purposeful journey in which we partake in the things of God and to bring others into it as well. By grace, God gives us direction in this calling through His word, His people and His Holy Spirit thereby providing every spiritual blessing we might require to live lives worthy of the calling we have received. And always remember that with every calling there is a Caller who will draw near to you, if you draw near to Him.
 Ephesians 2:10
 Philippians 2:12
 John 12:26
 Hebrews 11:26
 Matthew 28:16-20
 1 Peter 1:16
 Ephesians: 4:1
 John 4:14
 See for example Psalm 1:2; 5:3; 88:13; 57:7-8; 119:147; 63:1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zandré serves at Crowded House Family Church in Windhoek. He is married to Natasha and is an admitted attorney of the Namibian High Court.