Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God ~ Romans 1:1 (NIV)
I still remember a friend who’s very particular about words. And I learn that using the right words is very important, because it could change the whole meaning and ideas of looking at things. As Os Guinness in his book “The Call” says that there’s nothing like Calling that runs deeps within him, this topic is also something that burns deep within me. And I’m so glad that Paul speaks so clearly of this.
I like what Os Guinness starts in his book, that before there’s a call, there is the Caller. We could never talk about “Calling” apart from the “Caller”. And Paul starts from the “Caller”. He identifies himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. That is a liberating statement. Often we lost the wonder and awe of “Calling”, because we forgot who we are.
But knowing who we are, it’s such liberating thing. All the next statements fits and follows nicely. Because he is a servant of Jesus Christ, he is belongs 100% to Jesus Christ and what He asked him / called him to do.
The second element of Calling, is it starts with “Being” before “Doing”. God calls us to be and not to do. Again and again, people confuse the Call of God with things to do, and hence the word “Calling” receive negative sentiments.
But God always calls us to be, secured in our identity in Him.
And the last thing which I called the “Mission”. When we’re cleared of who we are in Christ Jesus, and we know who we are, then God set us apart for special task.
You could say, that’s true of Paul, how about me? Paul was called to be an apostle, but not everyone is called to be an apostle. And he was set apart for the gospel, but I’m not.
You’re right. God didn’t called me to be an apostle, but God called me to be an IT person. And because of that, I was set apart in this season of life to coordinate and make IT system in OM Australia to be setup properly for achieving their mission reaching out the world with the gospel of God.
But look at Paul says below:
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: ~ Romans 1:7
He applies the same principle to the people in Rome. They’re first loved by God. That’s a pretty bold statement. To find our identity as beloved of God of the Universe.
And then comes the Calling……..to be his, holy, people. (to be continued)
What I want to say shortly, is we often confused about Calling because we mixed up the sequence and the terms. But it’s something very clear in Paul’s mind. That it begins with God the Caller, who tells us who we are. And He calls us first to belong to himself (Romans 1:6), before He “Calls” us for specific task that he has set apart before foundation of the world.