Photo by Jacob Meyer on Unsplash
PROVING a calling placed on our life by God is for the large part irrelevant, but one thing about the call is it’s never a demand.
God never demands we do anything, even His commands are not demands, for demands place something inconsistent with and untrue upon the character of God.
God’s commands are imperatives that we must do if we wish to please Him; they are standards by which we will be judged. They are also standards by which we can be kept to account to in this life, for example, within the church. The church quite rightly disciplines its leaders and members for wanton transgressions against God’s commands when they hurt or have the potential to hurt the church, its members, or the wider community. The church has a mandate to stand against abuse of all forms.
If God’s calling is never a demand, it is also never a suggestion, as if ‘take it or leave it’. It is something that a person feels compelled to do — to serve their God for the rest of their lives. They would never say, God demanded me to do it, and nor would they say, God said I could if I wanted to.
God’s calling is something that is communicated by the Holy Spirit directly into the heart of a person — God’s man or woman. God never limits His call, but our calling can be limited by our gifting, talents, personality, and experience. Yet God equips the called, and proof of calling is the Spirit’s clarion call to the gifting we’re about to receive. See how with time we can truly determine a calling. We say time will tell and time always does tell.
Nobody can rightly say God made me do it as if we had no choice. God never makes anyone do anything, but He does issue consequences for choices, just like in human relationships parents cannot rightfully demand their adult children do this or that, but for their choices there are consequences. Love is freedom to choose, to the exact proportion of the responsibility that is wedded to that freedom. Love is the perfect balance of freedom with responsibility, as in scales of justice, where the weights must balance.
God never demands anyone follow Him, ever. His is one of persuasive invitation where we cannot say no, not because He holds our arm behind our back, but because He is too good to refuse.
To say that God demands me to serve Him is a manipulation of God to the degree that we refuse responsibility for our own actions as well as refusing ourselves the freedom God gives us in Christ. To say that would also put words in God’s mouth that He would never speak. It makes God human, and a manipulative human at that. It’s a perversion of a holy God who is wholly other-than human.
Another thing proximal to this discussion are those times we’re tempted to say, I’m not called to this! Many times, we may not be called to a particular task or role or season, but God still asks us to endure it; again, it is no demand, but there are possibly consequences for bailing out of a hardship we could otherwise endure just because we can.
So, God’s call is freedom, for love, for service, for choice, to serve Him freely with love by choice. Such a calling owes us nothing. It is our gift to the One who has gifted us, and gifts require no return.