Most likely you’re aware of a modern criticism levied at the Bible claiming that it’s no longer relevant or practical for us today. Few are surprised by how old the Bible is; most scholars agree the New Testament was completed sometime during the mid-second century. And some people think that because it was written long ago by different authors, they are excluded from being called to God’s higher purpose.
Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth! Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that “the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword” (NLT). Anything sharper than a double-edged sword must be highly effective! Indeed the Bible, originating from God himself, is the only reliable guide for discovering our meaning and place in the world. God, unending in love and compassion, has every intention that we spend our lives closely aligned with his calling. Check out the Scripture passages below that reveal four ways God wants to work in you and through you.
God wants to use you for his glory.
Famed novelist David Foster Wallace once aptly noted, “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”1 It is human to worship, because within every individual is the desire to draw closer to someone or something that he or she ascribes deep value to.
Worship is the singular term for actions and behaviors you engage in when lifting up what you view as ultimate. Whether God, money, sex, status, or anything else, worshiping what, or whom, you want to be more like says a lot about what you find glorious.
In one sense, worshiping is akin to focusing your attention on something. Whatever you give plenty of attention to, you are, in effect, glorifying. Working toward a college degree is glorifying that degree; spending time with loved ones is glorifying those relationships.
Naturally, there are limitless choices of things and people you can glorify, but not all paths of worship will lead you to the right destination. So who is most deserving of your attention, worship, and glory? God, of course!
Galatians 2:20 says “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT). God created you so he can live in you! By focusing on him daily, you are glorifying him. Through worship, prayer, and daily practices of faith, you are giving God his due—which is glory.
God wants to strengthen you to be content in any situation or circumstance.
Philippians 4:13, which is perhaps the most commonly misunderstood Scripture reference of all time, says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (NLT). Frequently quoted by athletes and church leaders as spiritual fuel for games, conferences, and events, this passage is often written on eye black, inside hats and helmets, and on motivational poster boards. Yet it turns out this championed verse doesn’t actually mean that God will give you strength for anything you set your mind to, whether through your own plans or genuinely seeking God’s will.
In order to understand the true meaning and application, it’s essential to consider the context: The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Philippi about the experiences he’s had as a Christian. Preceding verse 13, Paul mentions his moments of plenty and little, hardship and comfort, hunger and satisfaction. He talks about how God took him through the gamut of human experience and was there to help him find joy in any circumstance. Then Paul closes this thought with verse 13. He isn’t saying that God will support you in anything you want to do; far from it. He is saying that God will give you himself to lean on, regardless of any good or bad times you experience.
Naturally, you must practice leaning on God in order to become familiar with the strength that only he can provide. Philippians 4:13 exists to remind you that no matter what new obstacle or life question has arisen, you always have an answer. God is the ultimate source of strength!
God wants you to walk in his light.
John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’” (NLT). This passage clearly states that if you don’t follow Jesus, you will be walking in darkness—potentially your whole life!
The average global life expectancy in 2016 was 72 years. This is a long time to spend involved in anything, let alone the most basic facets of life, such as work, relationships, and hobbies. In addition, most people spend about 21 years finding a pathway to their careers, which is about 29 percent of the average life span. Imagine spending that much time—or more—seeking out your true purpose in life!
God wants to save and protect you from a lifetime of confusion and misery. Think of how difficult it can be to find your way through the hallway of a house without a light to guide you. How much more difficult it is seeking a pathway for living without the very Light of life! God wants to so he can use you to bring others into his light. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
God wants to cover you with his love.
When you’re in pain, you look for comfort from those who love you. When something good happens, you also seek out those who love you—this time for celebration and affirmation. And when you’re seeking role models or help in navigating the thousands of complicated choices in life, you again turn to your loved ones for clarity and support. Yet God’s love is the ultimate encouragement, covering your heart and bolstering your mind amid any circumstance that life throws at you. First Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT).
We see reflections of God’s love throughout the Bible. First John 4:16 reminds us, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (NLT). God wants his children to be absolutely filled with his love! In honest appreciation of who you are as his beloved and protected, give God praise and thank him for his majestic love.
God is multifaceted in the ways he provides love and guidance through his commandments in Scripture. No matter the trials you face, the questions you wrestle with, the victories you celebrate, or the friendships you become intertwined with, remember the above passages in particular when you think about God’s calling and how he wants to use you.
1 David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009), 99–101.
CALLED To Inspire: 52 Life-Changing Questions by Marsha DuCille
Do you sense God prompting you to do something special with your life? Do you feel totally unprepared to answer his call?
Get ready for your heart to be emboldened and your faith strengthened! In CALLED to Inspire, Marsha DuCille, founder and publisher of CALLED magazine, leads you through a 52-question devotional experience to help you discover a rich, victorious life guided by God. With each weekly devotion, you’ll find compelling answers to life’s most significant questions. Each reading is accompanied by a powerful prayer, a meaningful verse to hide in your heart, a declaration to defend and fortify your faith, and journaling space to record your thoughts.
Let CALLED to Inspire encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and give you the strength and confidence to hear God’s calling in your life. Cling to this companion week after week—and dare to render your answer.