Peter enjoined every believer in pursuing the call of God in this way:
“Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack–rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]”
1 PETER 5:8-9 AMP
Why will Peter tell us to be “well balanced and self-disciplined”? It is obvious that our enemy, Satan does not want anyone to be able to do any of these two things. He does not want you to be “well balanced” in the doctrines of Christ and “self-disciplined” in faithfully following the call of God over your life as well.
That’s why he must be fiercely and forcefully resisted. Your enemy in following your call into the ministry, are not your fellow Christians. Your enemy is never a human being. The Devil (himself) is your enemy. He is a spirit and you must be ready to always resist him in the spirit. He will try to deceive you to fight and resist him in the flesh. But you cannot win against him, if you are fighting him in the flesh. You have to fight to win in the spirit always.
You are not the only one involved in resisting the Devil. Your enemy is after all believers in Christ around the world, just like you. That’s why he must be resisted forcefully. Therefore be strong. Be bold and unyielding as you forcefully advance against him. He will not change in his ways; neither should you either in your resistance against him. There is no turning or changing in the Devil, and neither will there ever be any repentance in him. But you must rejoice always, because you know who your enemy is. Your victory is closer than ever before as you recognize this spiritual truth.
God’s calling is always purposeful and direct
In many Churches across the world today, there are many Christians who had been called of God; but who are really struggling in fulfilling their calling into the ministry. All has been called; but very few are really standing in their callings. There are many who had been called by God, to minister to the night club strippers, to the alcoholics, to the drug addicts. Others do have callings to the gamblers, to the prostitutes, fornicators and to other sexually immoral peoples. But they are all still struggling to stand, in that calling of God for their lives.
God is not really interested in man-made structures or means; in fulfilling His plan to save the unsaved souls of the world. Your use of any methodology or theories of men is never going to save the unsaved; and make them to stand strong in the Kingdom of God. You’ve got to have the heart desire to just keep falling in love with Jesus daily, as you steadfastly follow Him. And in following Him, you must be ready to obey His voice. Many are following Him with a heart of disobedience to His word and voice to them.
One thing is clear about the call of God to you. The Devil does not ever want you to stand in it. You must resist him forcefully, aggressively and resolutely. You are never alone in this “good fight of faith”. It is universal; but you will eventually win if you don’t quit. Quitters are losers. Winners don’t ever quit, even when they fall or fail. They just get up to keep fighting again until they get the victory.
When Jesus called His first disciples to follow Him, do you notice in your Bible that, none of them had the traditional religious background of their days. Jesus never called anyone of them from inside the synagogues. No, Jesus went out to look for the sinners, the unsaved, the people who were not sanctified, nor religious. He did not go for the self righteous believers in the synagogues. Jesus went looking for the ordinary people, who were living their normal lives, as messianic believers in God. He went looking for the ones who would had nothing, to do with the traditional religions of their days. He went looking for the business people, who were doing their businesses as usual. He went looking for the prostitutes, the divorced and the adulterous people.
In John chapter 4 He went looking for the Samaritan woman, who was still struggling in her unsuccessful marital relationships with men; because she couldn’t just understand anyone of the men in her world. All the men in her life, never understood the desire in this woman. All the men in this woman’s life never really loved her. All they wanted was just her body, so she could not stick it out with anyone of them. But when Jesus called her, she immediately discovered her calling. She became an evangelist of the gospel to the very men, who were only interested in using her body to fulfill their lustful desires.
Jesus one day also went looking for a fishing boat to use as a pulpit; but He saw the potentials in the lives of the fishermen, as He told them:
“…Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.”
MATTHEW 4:19 AMP
Jesus never went looking for perfect people. He’s looking for the Christians who are not perfect; but who do have a desire to follow Him. He knows that as long as they’re following Him, they would eventually discover their callings in God.
But in every call by Jesus to follow Him, you will always see that each one of them was on purpose. Each one of those callings were directed and focused on using the potentials, in those who had been called, to fulfill the eternal purpose of God to save the sinners in their world. Each one of the call to follow Him, was a call to being “well balanced” in His teachings, as they remained focused and “self-disciplined” towards their callings. Each one of those callings were to those who were failing in their businesses, relationships or to people who were not finding fulfillment in what they were doing. But the moment they were committed to following the call of Jesus, they found victories, successes and fulfillments in life.
God’s calling is always disruptive; but you will need boldness to walk in it
Jesus once declared to the crowd that was following Him, as they were still struggling with their individual callings.
He said to them:
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”
John 6:43-46 NIV
No one can really follow Jesus, except the Holy Spirit draws the person to Him. You are going to have to drop off many things, that are hindering your ability to obey the call to follow Him. The Holy Spirit is the One who brings the conviction into that call of God for your life.
But one thing that you will always need in following your calling is boldness. Everyone who had been called into the ministry, does have a measure of faith to walk in their callings. Boldness is needed to help you in staying focused on it. You can’t draw nearer to the throne of grace in receiving mercy by faith without boldness (Hebrews 4:16). Boldness before God will cause the favor of God, or His scepter of righteousness (Jesus), to be extended over your life.
The scriptures says:
“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”
1 John 5:14-15 AMPC
It was the calling of God to deliver the Jews, that was upon the life of Esther; as she approached the throne of the King. She knew that it was illegal to be in the King’s presence without being called (Esther 4:16); but she acted by faith with boldness in her calling to save her people. Jesus is God’s scepter of righteousness to you (Hebrews 1:8). If you will dare to start following Him boldly, you will discover the purpose for which you were created on this earth.
It was by faith and boldness that Ruth left her people, to follow Naomi in living with a people that were unknown to her. By faith with boldness she honored and acted on the words of Naomi, to reveal her desire for Boaz to act as her “kinsman redeemer” (Ruth 3:9). The favor of God was upon Ruth (who was not even an Israelites); but her faith with boldness positioned her for the call of God, to carry the seed of Jesse through whom the Savior of the world was born. For every call from Jesus into your destiny, you will always need boldness to fulfill it.
When Jesus called Peter and his brothers, it disrupted their fishing business. But that call was more powerful and important than the fishing nets to them.
“He (Jesus) said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.”
Matthew 4:19-22 NABRE
The most important thing to note here is that, God’s calling will disrupt your theologies, and everything that you thought you knew about God. God’s calling disrupted everything that Peter and others thought that, they knew about the fishing business and about God. It was not a normal experience for them, but they had a supernatural encounter with Jesus in it. His calling will take you from your normal, or business as usual mentality in daily devotional time with Him, into a relationship with Him through the continuous practice of His presence.
Many are not accepting His calling today, because they don’t want a disruptive lifestyle. They are not prepared to drop off the things, that they are enjoying in this world, for a lifestyle into the unknown and the uncommon. A lifestyle of faith and boldness in walking with God.
That was what happened when Jesus asked the crowd around Him, to stop following the “bread and fish” that they were being fed with. Many in our world today do often claim to be Christians, because of the benefits available to every child of God. But how many are really prepared to follow Him. Jesus told the crowd around Him to follow Him. But many could not accept His calling at the time, just as many in our world today are struggling with it also.
The scriptures says:
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?..
..Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
John 6:60-61, 64-65 NIV
Today you may have heard the word of God, to get rid of certain things in your life and follow Jesus. What are you going to do about it? You can yield and obey God today, because you want more of His goodness in your life. Or you may just want to keep living your present lifestyle, without His very best for you. You need to understand that being in God’s permissive will is not the best for you. God wants you in His perfect will, so that you may start enjoying His very best for your life. His very best comes to you, as you step out by faith with boldness, to yield to God’s voice in your heart. Yielding to God’s voice won’t hurt you. No, God wants to rather bless you and not hurt you.
“Irina” was an ordinary evangelical Church goer in Moscow, when she heard the voice of God telling her to read the New Testament three times. By the time she finished doing what the Lord told her to do, she got filled with the Holy Spirit, without anyone laying hands on her. Her denomination doesn’t accept women preachers; but she knew that she heard God’s voice clearly, to go on the streets and start telling people about Jesus. Today her ministry spans across her country and into many parts of Europe. What are you going to do about God’s call to you today? The choice is always yours!