Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Submitted to the Call
Your new beginning!
Terry R. Baughman
“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).
The Call of God is essential to initiating discipleship. If our decision to follow Christ is merely social, there will be new trends and fads that will arise and distract us from following Christ. If we have been influenced or pressured to follow Christ by family or friends, if we follow out of obligation or compulsion, then we will eventually be persuaded to follow them elsewhere. If we commit to become a Christian based on anything other than the word of God who calls, “Come, follow me,” then we will lose resolve when opposition arises and resolve fades.
The preaching of the Gospel is a declaration of the call of God. It is a challenge to personally identify with Jesus Christ, to experience His death through our repentance, to be buried with Him by baptism in water, and to be raised in victorious resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit being birthed in our hearts. When Nicodemus came to visit the Lord one night Jesus simply declared, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The birth of the water and the Spirit constitutes the New Birth and are the initial steps in response to Christ’s call.
Pursuing the calling of God is a lifelong journey. The call is not just a one-time experience or a checkmark on life’s bucket list. The call of Christ is a transforming experience. It is an appeal for an altered direction resulting in a lifelong impact. In every decision and every major life event there is a reminder of the “high calling of God” in our lives that must be considered. God’s will and purpose is supremely important for the committed follower of Christ.
The discipleship journey begins with the call to be saints. Believers in both Corinth and Rome were reminded that they were called to be saints. (See Romans 1:7 & 1 Corinthians 1:2.) We should not think of the Catholic tradition of the elevation of individuals to the place of sainthood by working of miracles and many good works, but rather the understanding that all believers are to be “holy ones,” followers of Jesus Christ. It is not that we are holy, but our calling is holy and we serve a holy God. Paul explained that it is God, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Being a saint is not just for super Christians or those who are outstanding in their volunteer involvement in charitable activities. All followers of Christ are called to holiness and godliness. We are called to be like Christ, to model His character!
Peter appealed to believers to, “Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10). Obviously, followers of Christ, even when modeling many good characteristics, will make mistakes and often fall short of expectations, but the call of Christ through His grace reassures us of His love and affirms our efforts to pursue right living. He provides forgiveness to overcome sin and encourages us to embrace the opportunity to continue in our calling toward Christian discipleship. We can live surrendered to His Will and submitted to His Call.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9 NKJV).