Called To Be Different
When we talk about faith and work the first questions that usually come up are, “how do I boldly share my faith in a winsome way while not being overbearing?” Or, “what kind of work am I called to do?” Those are certainly important questions that need answering but when we look at how the New Testament authors primarily use the word “called” kaleō I think a more important question emerges and that is, “who am I called to be?” This is a question of identity, the former are questions of result. Without solid answers to the identity question, the resulting answers will have little purpose and meaning. The biblical authors and Jesus himself point us in this direction.
In Romans 8:28–30 the Apostle Paul writes.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
In the context here Paul says that we are “children of God” (Rom. 8:16) and therefore “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). These are identity statements. We are heirs of God with Christ, “provided that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom. 8:17). Then he discusses his suffering and subsequent hope in the redemption of all creation and a return to humanity ruling creation as God’s stewards. It’s with the final redemption of creation and the adoption of believers in view that Paul writes the famous words of Romans 8:28-30. He also says the the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our weaknesses, when we don’t know what to pray. He prays for us according to the will of God.
When he says that we have been called according to his purposes Paul means those who have been called to be God’s children according to God’s will. God decided whom to call as his children. All things work out for good for these folks because God’s purpose will certainly be fully realized in the end, at the redemption of all creation. So this doesn’t mean that everything will be good in your life when you believe in Jesus. Instead, it means that when God calls you and adopts you as his child, things will work together for good because God is redeeming all of creation, our bodies included.
In this text we see that God predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies those whom he foreknew. In verse 29 he says that they are “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” This is a major statement as to the purpose of God’s calling and predestining his followers—it is to be changed, to become more like Jesus.
So prior to thinking about what we are called to do we must recognize who we are called to be. When we recognize who we are called to be in Christ I think the answers to what we are called to do will come much more easily.
How much time have you spent thinking about what you are called to do in this world? Compare that with how much time you’ve spent thinking about who you are called to be? Do you agree that Christ is more concerned about who we become in him than what we do for him? If that is the case recommit to being formed into the person Christ calls you to be.