God’s Claim and Call on Our Lives
Mankind seems hell-bent on rebelling against God and His authority. Psalm 2:2-3 (NLT) paints a vivid picture of man’s insurgent and seditious attitude toward God’s rule: “The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.’” As Jesus taught on Kingdom authority, He told a story in which a group of people rebelled against proper order, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” The staggering question is this: How many people have these same types of attitude toward God today?
We live in a society where “self” is deified, where personal preferences are venerated, and where self-assertion and self-determination are worshipped without regard to God’s authority and without respect for the eternal principles by which the Creator established boundaries for our lives. “I Did It My Way” and “I’ve Gotta Be Me” have become mantras by which people live. “It’s my body and I can do with it whatever I want” and “no one else is going to tell me what’s right or wrong” are prevailing mentalities for many. The Apostle Peter spoke of “those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed” (2 Peter 2:10). The phrase, “despise authority” would be better translated, “despise lordship.” This is very significant in the light of Jesus’ Lordship.
At the end of 2 Peter 2:10, the apostle refers to those who are “self-willed.” This word means “self-pleasing,” and carries the idea of being arrogant and stubborn. It is the same word used in Titus 1:7 when he states that a bishop—a spiritual leader—must not be self-willed. Spiritual leaders are not to reflect the world’s mentality, but are to model their lives after Jesus. Paul teaches, “even Christ did not please Himself” (Romans 15:3). Actually Jesus’ example of submission toward God stands in sharp contrast to the world’s attitudes. Consider how Jesus demonstrated submission to the Heavenly Father:
- “…not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
- “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
- “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8).
- “…then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God’” (Heb 10:9).
Some might say, “Well, yes, but that was Jesus. It was important that He be submitted to the will of God, but I just think that God wants me to be happy, so if something makes me happy, then I think God’s OK with it.” A person who knows and respects the authority of the Bible could never hold such a position. Paul was aghast that some Corinthian believers apparently felt the same way. He said to them, “…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:19-20).
Because of the blood that Jesus shed for us, He has a claim upon our lives! Even in the Old Testament, God claimed ownership of His people. In Isaiah 43:1, God says, “Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.” A. Kuyper stated, “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry ‘Mine!’” God has called us and God has claimed us!
We need to understand, though, that the call of God is not an “end-all-be-all” event. Rather, it is the launching pad to a working partnership with God from which transformation, discipleship, growth, and obedience takes place in our lives. The issuing of a call is what God does; responding to that call is our responsibility. When a person has responded to God’s claim and God’s call upon his life, he will pray like Richard Baxter, “Lord, whatever you want, wherever you want it, and whenever you want it, that’s what I want.”
F. B. Meyer recognized the disparity that often exists between God’s call and our surrender to that call. He said, “Jesus Christ has bought us with His blood, but, alas, He has not had His money’s worth! He paid for ALL, and He has had but a fragment of our energy, time and earnings. By an act of consecration, let us ask Him to forgive the robbery of the past, and let us profess our desire to be henceforth utterly and only for Him – His slaves, owning no master other than Himself.”
Knowing God’s claim upon our lives also brings us great boldness. When Paul was facing what seemed to be an absolutely hopeless situation, he stood and proclaimed, “be of good cheer… for there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul… (Acts 27:22-24, KJV). When you know that you are God’s own property and possession, there is a security and a confidence that rises in your heart. The believer who is submitted to God’s claim and God’s call knows that Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
Misconceptions abound concerning what it means to be “called” by God. Many Christians tend to think of the “calling” as something that applies only to preachers, but God has called all of us to be His children and to reflect His glory and honor in the earth. Has God called you to be:
- A godly husband or wife?
- A person who will have a godly in influence on his neighbors, friends, and co-workers in the marketplace?
- A productive worker or leader in the local church?
- A parent who raises children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
All of these are valuable and significant assignments in life, whether you ever step behind a pulpit or not. Even when it comes to being a child of God, He has called us to some specific things; He hasn’t just called us generically and in nondescript ways. As you consider the following verses, don’t just skim over them, but look carefully to see exactly what God has called you to.
- “…you also are the called of Jesus Christ… beloved of God, called to be saints” (Rom 1:6-7).
- “…whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:30).
- “…called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours…” (1 Cor 1:2).
- “…you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9).
- “…Him who called you in the grace of Christ…” (Gal 1:6).
- “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty…” (Gal 5:13).
- “…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…” (1 Peter 1:15).
- “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Pet 2:9).
- “…the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…” (1 Pet 5:10).
- “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ…” (Jude 1).
I know that some people are called to specific functions in the Body of Christ (preaching, teaching, etc.), but the above Scriptures are referring to our calling—the calling that all of us have—simply as God’s children! The ramifications of our calling are staggering! We are called to be saints, called into the fellowship of His Son, called into the grace of Christ, called to liberty, called to be holy, and called to eternal glory! Every child of God has a glorious calling!