This post continues our discussion on The In-Between by Jeff Goins and focuses on Chapter 4.
In Chapter 4 of The In-Between, Jeff Goins writes the following rather thought-provoking and perhaps troubling statement:
Why troublesome? Because thinking about your calling in this way places the responsibility for living out you calling squarely on you shoulders. Let’s pick apart this statement a bit to help understand that responsibility, adding scripture (specifically Ephesians 2:10) to solidify the truth of the main premise of this chapter.
- Everyone has a calling. Ephesians 2:10 says we were “created (born anew) in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Salvation brings us to our first calling, that of doing good works and that which falls upon every Christian. The second part of the verse hints at our individual callings, the way we each uniquely carry out those good works.
- Not everyone finds their calling. Ephesians 2:10 also indicates we were created for good works, and we have specific and unique ways of carrying them out. But it also says we are to “walk in them.” In other words, we are to make them be our way of life by taking the paths God planned for us. Yet, He won’t force those paths on us. We must choose to take the steps down the path He created.
- We don’t have to find our calling. In other words, we can live life doing good and still make Heaven without ever living out our specific calling. Certainly a life devoted to Christ requires faith in action (James 2:17), but these actions can be carried out without ever discovering the gifted and talented paths created just for us.
- We must choose to find our calling. Do good, absolutely, every chance you get. Strive to do good. Be known for it. But also realize that God designed a specific path for you long ago. Discovering that path involves the uncomfortable process of self discovery, the purest of which comes through knowing God. Never forget that He created you in all your intricacies. Only he knows the number of hairs on your head, and only He — through the power of His Word — can “divide joint from marrow” (Hebrews 4:12). Choosing to know Him and His Word more means choosing to pursue your calling, His will for your life.
- We must pay attention to our lives. Not only do we have God’s Word to help in this discovery process, but He also gives us what Goins calls “mile markers” to help us identify our callings. But to see these “mile makers,” we must pay attention. We cannot allow ourselves to get and stay so busy that we have little to no time notice to what God has for our lives.
- We need patience to examine our gifts and talents. Being too busy and staying that way for longer than “just a season” removes the space and time needed to patiently examine our gifts and talents. If we take that time, we can look over our lives and see the areas we excelled, the things that excited us, and the talents that set us apart. Everyone has them. But examining them takes patience as we shut out the world, focus on our journey, and let the Holy Spirit reveal the truths of where we’ve been. Take the time to develop patience for recognizing past “mile markers” in order to be able to identify future ones that line your path.
- We can miss discovering what we’re made to do. Staying too busy. Not spending regular time with God in His Word. Refusing to cultivate patience through reflection. All ways to assuredly miss discovering your calling. We must realize these crucial steps in this discovery process to prevent missing “mile markers” when we’re on track for something else, and they peek longingly around the corner, right where the path divides.
Goins points out yet another important revelation regarding our callings, that they are a process, something we become over time. Walking in our callings involves taking a journey of obedience that begins with salvation and transforms us into more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) when we purpose to discover and do what God planned long ago for each one of us.
DISCUSSION: Where are you in the discovery of your calling? What “mile markers” do you see in the distance as you look both behind and in front of you?
This discussion on The In-Between by Jeff Goins continues on February 6th with a focus on Chapter 5.