How to Know What God Called You to Do: Desire
God places gifts and desires in your heart to help guide you in what He has called you to do. So, how do we identify that calling in our life?
Life Group Discussion Guide: Desire and Calling
How to Know What God Called You to Do – Desire
Last week we started a conversation about how we can live out our calling by faith and we discussed how God uses our gifting to point us to what He’s called us to do. But, in so doing so some of you may caught something I said.
As I was concluding my sermon, I said that God doesn't always give us gifts until we step out in faith to do what he’s called us to do. So how are we supposed to know?
Well, remember the premise we began with last week?
Our gifts and desires can point us to confidently walk by faith in what we believe God has called us to do.
You see sometimes it’s not until we act on our desires, our passion that we see the gifts suddenly come out!
For instance, in the Old Testament most of you know the story of David. David was a Shepherd boy. David was the youngest of his brothers who was just taking care of the sheep, and being pretty awesome at it. But he had no concept in his mind of being one of the mightiest military and political leaders in the history of Israel. He was simply a Shepherd boy taking some lunch to his brothers when a passion stirred within him to go and fight a giant. And the rest is history. David acted on the passion that God placed within his heart and began to walk by faith in what God was calling him to do! He went step by step as God sovereignly opened the doors and as such walked by faith through them right to the throne of the Kingdom of Israel .
Fast forward to the New Testament and we see a man named Peter! Certainly, Peter had skills in leadership. He had a successful fishing business when Jesus came calling. But, certainly as a man who had never been trained in seminary. Who had never been to the rabbinical schools, that men like Saul (later named Paul) had been to. He would have had no concept when he left his fishing boat to follow Jesus, that he would preach his first sermon. The first sermon by any follower of Christ after Jesus ascended! A sermon that waxed eloquently in referencing Old Testament Scriptures. With power and authority he pointed those who were in Jerusalem celebrating the day of Pentecost straight to Jesus. Thousands in that moment gave their life to Jesus Christ and a movement started that has burned through history to where you and I are talking today about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, our illustration of David and Peter points to the fact that gifting came as they stepped out on faith. Living out the passion and desire that God had placed within them. But, their faith was given tremendous clarity by how God called them.
God sent Samuel to David and anointed him, which would certainly give David tremendous confidence and clarity. Then there's Peter, whom, Jesus said I'm gonna use you to build my church. Told him specifically to go make disciples and to feed his sheep. Making it abundantly clear what Peter was supposed to do! It always makes faith a little easier when you have clarity like that!
So, what do we need to know when it comes to using our desires as a means to point us to what God is calling us to do?
Let me give you 3 Biblical operating principles for using your desires/passions to point you to what God has called you to do.
The 1st Biblical principle for understanding and allowing your desires to point you to what God is calling you to do is understanding that,
God sovereignly writes His desires on our hearts.
16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," 17 Then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." (Hebrews 10:16-17) (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Primarily this means that God will place a sincere desire in my heart to love, obey and trust Him. To know and understand His word!
God will place a sincere desire in my heart to love others as Christ loves me.
God will stir my heart to engage those far from God with the gospel of Jesus Christ to know and follow him.
But, we also know, in Scripture that it means God will plant dreams visions and desires within my heart for what he's calling me to do! As Peter pointed out, when speaking of the role of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant believer.
16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; (Acts 2:16-17)
As we saw in week two in our series Paul wrote,
10" For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."(Ephesians 2:10)
So the key, God is sovereignly and literally at work transforming us and as such he is committed to plant within us his vision for what he wants us to do. A passion for what He wants us to do and lead us to dream a dream! So I can trust my dreams right? Well, not so fast!
The 2nd Biblical principle for understanding how your desires point you to what God is calling you to do is,
We can only trust the desires of our heart if we are living in glad submission to Him.
Now, if you remember Romans seven then you will never out right trust the desires of your heart! Paul writes,
18 "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members." (Romans 7:22-23)
Until Jesus comes back this is our reality. We will never shake off our deceitful wicked hearts that war against everything God is about. That are constantly seeking to bring glory to ourselves instead of Him! So, what are we to do? Well, listen to what Paul says in Galatians 5:16-23,
16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:16-23)
Therefore we cannot trust religious discipline to guard our hearts. We need a relationship with Jesus that changes our hearts!
We need to be in love with Jesus so our hearts desire to obey him is greater than our hearts desire to obey ourselves!
You do not fall in love with Jesus through religious discipline, but rather through relationship with him! Obeying a bunch of man-made rules and obsessing with a bunch of man-made rituals will only cause you to be in love with men and their applause and approval. It will only feed the pride you have in yourself! And the fruit of serving yourself is that big list of immoral, unethical blasphemous behavior Paul just listed!
On the other hand if you live falling in love with Jesus. If you live truly abiding in Him, walking in the Spirit. The fruit of that relationship will lead you to be able to trust the dreams and visions of your heart as coming from God. Because they are literally being fashioned by Him!
But, that still doesn’t take away from the reality that on this side of heaven I’m battling a heart that is wicked and deceitful above all else! So what if I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m loving Jesus and being shaped by Him but I’m really not! If I’m fooling myself how can I figure it out?
This leads us to the 3rd Biblical principle,
Live in close enough community with other Christians that they can give you wise counsel!
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.(Proverbs 15:22)
For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 24:6)
But how do I know if I’m getting wise counsel? Everybody wants to offer you Counsel. Just post something on Facebook and you’ll find out. So how do I know it’s wise counsel? Well, James speaks to this. The primary intent of this passage is to look at my own heart to see if I am living wisely. But, the passage also helps us to be able to see if the people around us are giving us wise counsel!
13 "Who is wise and understanding among you? (who can I get good counsel from?). By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18)
So, people that are eaten up with selfish ambition, jealousy, etc. will not give me Godly counsel at all. Rather will give me counsel that comes from an earthly unspiritual demonically influenced heart! Even if they call themselves Christian!
Make sure the wise counselors in your life are people who love God & have actual Godly fruit in their lives. They have a pattern of wisdom in the subject matter, and they can reason. That they are people who are humble enough to listen objectively and observe all the facts. Most importantly that they love God and you enough to confront you about the sin in your own life and heart!
What are you pursuing that you know is not a desire from God? Do you have the faith to repent?
A relationship you shouldn’t be in? Whether married, single, or students. If it's not God leading you into that relationship, then it's lust or the need of approval.
A Job or career you are pursuing? If It’s not about maximizing your gifts for Gods glory. Or to supply for your family. Or to help society equip the church and expand the gospel, but rather it is about you and you alone, then you are just trying to make it fit all that other stuff! It's not the job or career that God is calling you to, then it’s lust or just the need of approval.
Do you have the faith to trust God’s plan for your life instead of your yours? Can you repent and trust him?
What is it God is calling you to do that you are frozen and not doing?
Is it Obvious things in the scriptures that he has told us are his will?
- To give your life to Him.
- To be baptized.
- To tithe to your church and give to others.
- To love, serve and build genuine relationships with some people in the church so you can encourage each other in the faith!
- To engage those far from God with the Gospel!
- To live moral and ethical lives.
Or is it not so obvious things?
- Who he's calling you to marry.
- The career he's calling you to pursue.
- The life group he's birthing a vision in your heart to start.
- The business he's calling you to start.
- The place he's calling you to move to, etc.
If you can’t shake the desire and you know it’s not the desires of the flesh then why are you not stepping out in faith to do it? There is no faith in Christ if there is no obedience to Christ. Just as there is no faith in Christ's calling on your life/what he made you to do. If there is no discipline or wise action in your life to do it. Noah had to start cutting down trees. Abraham had to start traveling. Joshua had to lead the band around Jericho. Peter had to lift up his voice as the crowd gathered wondering what was going on and preach! In the same way you have to act for it to actually be faith!
This Week's Music
Hallelujah For The Cross
© * 9t One Song, Ariose Music, Capitol CMG Genesis, Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears, Meaux Jeaux Music, Jesus Culture Music (Admin. By Capitol CMG Publishing). CCLI Song No. 7107551.
Words and music by Chris McClarney/Jeff Pardo.
His Mercy is More
Shane & Shane
© 2016 Messenger Hymns, Love Your Enemies Publishing (Admin. By Music Services, Inc.). CCLI Song No. 7065053. Words and music by Matt Boswell/Matt Papa
How Great Thou Art
Shane & Shane
© 1949 and 1953 Stuart Hine Trust CIO Stuart K. Hine Trust (Admin by Capitol CMG Publishing). CCLI Song No. 14181. Words and music by Stuart K. Hine