Embrace your calling: You are called to belong
God’s unchanging plan for history is to adopt you into His family, love, and live with Him forever.
Something To Talk About:
- Simplify my life: People want to be used by God, but they’re too busy. They have their plans and dreams and ambitions, and they don’t have any time to give to God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is helpful” (HCSB). What does that mean? Many things aren’t necessarily wrong; they’re just not necessary. Life is often a choice between “Am I going to do something good?” or “Am I going to do what’s best?” It is easy to get so busy that you don’t have time for the important things—ministry, mission, and time alone with God. You can’t do it all. So do what matters most. Simplify your life and eliminate distractions so God can use you.
- Don’t get impatient or in a hurry: In many cultures today, fast is better. But that’s not the way God works. God has a plan for your life. He also has a timetable for that plan. Yet God never explains his timetable. He doesn’t have to—He’s God. And you can trust that he has your best interest at heart. Impatience, basically, is a lack of trust. His delays are not denials. God knows the right time and the right way. He has a plan and a timetable. And His timing is perfect.
- Spend time focusing on Jesus every day: The Bible tells us this – we achieve spiritual growth, “…by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) That’s why it’s so important to spend time with Jesus every day. Your spiritual growth depends upon it. You become more like Jesus when you spend time with Him. Spend time with God each day. Start with five, 10, or 15 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter when you do it’s long as you do it.
- When life gets hard, remember the reward: “The secret of endurance is to remember that your pain is temporary but your reward will be eternal. In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal” There are only two things that will last forever: the Word of God and people. Philippians 4:17 says, “Though I appreciate your gifts, what makes me happiest is the well-earned reward you will have because of your kindness.” (TLB) Paul wrote to the Philippians to express his appreciation for their support. But he said what meant the most—what brought him the most joy—was knowing that their sacrifice and generosity gave them treasure in heaven. They invested in him, but they also invested in their eternal home. We too should look for ways to invest in our eternal home.
- Gather a team to run with me: If you want to go the distance in your relationship with Jesus, don’t run the marathon on your own. No one can run the race for you, but other people can—and should—run the race with you. You’ll give up without support. You don’t need 100 people with you. You don’t even need 10. You just need three or four people running with you, supporting you in all God wants to do through your life. That’s why you need to be in a small group. You need people who can spur you on in your spiritual life. And you need to be able to spur on others. It could mean the difference between finishing the race and quitting.
- Remember God is cheering at every stage: Some people mistakenly believe that God only smiles at them when they’re doing something right, when they mature spiritually, or when they complete what God has called them to do. But the truth is God smiles at you at every stage of your journey with Him. He smiles at you when you’re a new Christian, just figuring out what it means to follow Jesus. He smiles at you when you’re a mature Christian, with years of growth behind you. Even the apostle Paul, who wrote portions of the New Testament, understood he was far from perfect. He wrote, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (Philippians 3:12) God wasn’t ashamed of Paul’s imperfections. God isn’t ashamed of yours, either. Instead, God is cheering you on. He wants to bless you. He wants you to fulfill your calling.
- Take every step with purpose: Spiritual growth must be purposeful. Every step in our journey with Jesus should be taken on purpose. We must be disciplined. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:25-26, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing” (NLT) Every step, Paul says, must be purposeful. That’s how you finish the race God has marked out for you. Don’t be tempted by shortcuts. Stay on the straight and narrow path, and keep pressing forward toward your goal. Make every step count.
- Realize what I don’t finish God will: God will bring you to completion in Heaven through Christ. Every day, as you simplify your life, spend time focusing on Jesus, remember the reward and run with a team, you are working toward the perfection found in Christ. While we may never get to the point of perfection on our own, we can trust that God will complete the work He began in us. We were created to become like Christ. But if I don’t get there and there are still some remaining parts left, God is going to complete the character development in my life one day. We are currently only a fraction of what we could be, but in God’s hands, we are fostered and perfected, eventually to completion. God will finish what we do not.
- To become what God calls us to be, the first thing we need to do is simplify our lives. What is holding you back? Share with your group as a way to move forward in your race.
- Think of some of the good things that you’ve put first in your life. Have any of them distracted you from God’s best for your life?
- Keeping our eyes on Jesus is key to becoming like Him and thereby fulfilling our purpose in life. What does Hebrews 12:1-2 say about how to de-clutter our lives and focus on Jesus?
- What is your favorite spot to meet with Jesus? What are some of the struggles you’ve faced when trying to establish a consistent time with Jesus?
- How has having a team of people around you helped you do something difficult?
- What action can you take today to support the spiritual growth of someone else?
- Do you have three or four people who spur you on in your spiritual life? If something is keeping you from developing those kinds of relationships, how can you address that? How does the truth that God is cheering you on motivating you to keep moving forward despite the struggles you may be enduring?
- What area of your life are you most looking forward to God perfecting when you get to heaven?
- Romans 12:4-5 says that “… each part has a special function.” Have you discovered the types of work or purposes God shaped you to do in the body of Christ? If so, what are they?
- What did you hear? What point in this message was most impactful for you?
Take one thing home with you:
Quiet time with God is simply spending time with Him. Thinking about Him. Talking to Him. Listening to Him. There are no requirements for the length of time or time of day. Scripture simply invites us into a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father. What that time looks like is up to you. If you have 1 hour every day to spend with God, great. If you only have 3 minutes before your children find you hiding in the bathroom, great. God will meet you wherever you are. While a daily morning quiet time is ideal, you can have profound encounters with God while on break at work, while driving to the store, doing the dishes, or listening to a podcast. We should not get hung up on things like how long we read or prayed or if we are using the right materials. God doesn’t care about any of that. He just wants a daily encounter with you.
Forming this time into your daily schedule will not be easy. Nothing of value is ever easy. The main objective for any of us is disciplining ourselves to have a quiet time every day. Over time, it becomes a habit that is easily repeated. Even better, it will soon become the best and most productive part of your day.