Calling & Opposition

Many people quietly believe that life will be simplest if they can just identify the call of God on their lives. If we do what God calls us to, He will smooth the way, clear the obstacles, and reduce the hardship.

Nothing could be further from the biblical truth.

OppositionThe call on Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem produced such hostility and opposition that workers held a trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other. The call on the Apostle Paul to take the gospel to the Gentiles resulted in beatings, whippings, imprisonment, and harassment. Yes, even the call on Jesus led to the via dolorosa.

Be careful what you expect.

This week I listened to Jenny Williamson speak to this theme in a chapel service at William Jessup University. She drove it home beautifully, with important clarifiers.

First, fear often keeps us from our destiny and calling. Expect opposition. Anticipate ridicule and criticism if you’re doing the work of Christ or living for the King(dom). It comes with the territory. It does not mean that the Lord has lifted His blessing or retracted His calling. Quite the opposite.

Second, the obstacles are to declare the glory of God. If the call of God required no serious obedience and no earnest dependence from us, we’d likely take the honor for ourselves. When the voices of darkness and division rail against us, we learn to trust Christ in new and deeper ways.

Finally, when the Lord gives us responsibility He also grants us His authority. He does not abandon us to hardship, but empowers us to endure it … even as it rages before, behind, and around us. “Blessed is the one who overcomes” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21)

God has a calling for each of us that perhaps only we can fulfill. If we fail to step up, or choose to step back, some ministry shall remain undone. Let’s not quickly abandon our obedience just because naysayers rise up or critics find their voice. Instead, let’s find grace and strength in the Presence of Christ.

The calling of God indeed paves the way to the blessing of God “in the heavenly places.” Our present momentary afflictions are not worth comparing to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Are you facing cynics, doubters, skeptics, or haters?

Be strong. Stand firm. Trust Jesus.

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10 Responses to Calling & Opposition

  1. roger says:

    Thank you DT

  2. rathman says:

    David – lately I’ve been wondering if every person really has an individual calling. It’s common terminology in Christian circles; I’ve heard and used the phrase “my calling” many times. But it just feels so subjective. I don’t know, maybe we’re just supposed to live our lives surrendered to Christ in the day to day mundane things and not worry so much about our calling. Maybe we could breathe easier if we didn’t worry about some esoteric idea that our calling lies out there somewhere, when that type of thinking may end up just being pie in the sky.

    • David Timms says:

      I’ve thought the same thing myself, and I agree that the idea of a “personal plan” can produce as much frustration as hope — though Christ certainly “calls” many of us to quite specific places and acts of service. I totally resonate with your “surrendered life” approach. I generally use the term “calling” in the broader biblical sense that Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians 1:2 — “saints by calling.” All of us have that calling. That’s why I wrote: “God has a calling for each of us that perhaps only we can fulfill.” My use of the word “perhaps” was my equivocation. 🙂

  3. colincraggs says:

    What an awesome post. Suffering and walking with Christ seem to be a no-no at the moment in the Christian community. It’s always great to hear your very balanced perspective.

  4. Linda Schuchmann says:

    Thank you, David. I have been called to Ukraine to help teach English and help with evangelism with the Michael Gott International Evangelistic Association. I’ll be there for the whole month of April. My husband and church are very supportive but some family members will not like my going and will try to discourage me. Your post today has been very helpful. Thank you!

    Linda Schuchmann, Temple, Texas

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. Thanks David!
    Boy does that encouragement come at the perfect time! My oh my, this little devotional is cool water in the heat of opposition that I face, this is fresh air in a room full the stale doldrums of discontent mumblings among the stressed out sheep I pasture! Boy did I need this!
    Larry DiSimone

  6. Marica says:

    Always timely.

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