I’m often asked regarding the calling of God “How do I know the call of God in my life?” or “How do I know if God has called me into full-time ministry?” And I’ve come to realise that while giving them some guiding principles and advising them that “You’ll know when the time comes” was helpful to a certain extent, I wasn’t really answering their question. Neither will I be able to fully do so.
I can share from my personal testimonies of God’s divine leading and providence in my life, and listeners will be wowed and encouraged by my journey of faith in the Lord. Yet, as sincere as that may be, I’d then see an ‘encouraged face’ turned into a ‘blank face’ because, after all, the calling of God is a personal journey that you need to embark on and experience for yourself. Everyone has his own story in answering the call of God in his life.
I asked the Lord to give me a ‘more excellent way’ of answering this all-important question that many are asking so that, after hearing my testimonies, they can go on and write their own journey of faith.
I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Why do you get so caught up with the calling of God? What about your covenant with Him?” This hit me like a bolt of lightning piercing through my being – Don’t just think calling,Think covenant!. Don’t be fixated on or overwhelmed by the ‘call of God’ – it’s unique and different for every person. However, when you make ‘covenant’ your focus and starting point, then all of us can identify with that because we all have a personal relationship with God.
There are some things that we do for the Lord, not because we’re ‘called’ to do them nor are we the best or the brightest, but simply because we love Him and that’s the least we can do for Him in any capacity that would please Him. When you ‘think covenant’ and truly understand what that means, I believe you’ll not be making these statements – ‘I’m not called to lead a cell group’, ‘I don’t feel led to serve in the usher ministry’, ‘I don’t do admin work, I want to preach the Gospel.’
The call of God in my life is made up of many ‘small callings’ – the seemingly insignificant, mundane, and routine tasks that, when I’m faithful in doing each one of them excellently, these pieces will come together and eventually form ‘THE’ call of God for my life.
Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “The one who manages the little he has been given with faithfulness and integrity will be promoted and trusted with greater responsibilities. But those who cheat with the little they have been given will not be considered trustworthy to receive more.” Ultimately, the call of God in my life and yours is sustained by His covenant with us. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:13 (NKJV), “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
Covenants are like the ‘backbone of the Bible’ upon which the entire redemptive story was built. From Genesis onwards, God enters into one formal relationship after another (i.e. covenants) with various people so as to rescue the world. These divine-human relationships reached their climax in Jesus. Thus, to tell the story of God redeeming His people through Jesus is to tell the story of God’s covenantal relationship with them.
A covenant is a chosen relationship in which two parties make binding promises to each other and are accompanied by oaths, signs, and ceremonies. In a marriage, a husband and wife choose to enter a formal relationship binding one to the other in lifelong faithfulness and devotion – that’s a covenant. The difference between covenant and contract is evident when someone breaks one of the agreements. A contract is void when one of the involved parties violates it.
On the other hand, a covenant remains intact even if one of the parties breaches it – it’s unilateral, unconditional, irrevocable, and indissoluble. And the most solemn covenant of all is one that’s been established through the shedding of blood – first mentioned in Genesis 15 which recorded the dramatic encounter between God and Abraham, and in the New Testament, where the blood covenant was made by God through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Bill Johnson once said, “Anytime you hear a testimony, there’s a covenant from God to duplicate the miracle. It’s important to adjust our thinking to come into alignment with what God is doing.”
We recently concluded our 12th annual Cornerstone Global Network Summit where we were privileged to host the overseas and local pastors in our network and observers from 19 nations. Collectively, they’ve planted churches, bible schools, kindergartens, schools, orphanages and shelter homes. What an amazing work the Lord has blessed us with all around the world!
In an atmosphere filled with faith, fun, and fellowship, I didn’t see these pastors comparing their ‘calling’, but I saw them serving and being real with one other. I see covenantal relationships being forged. Even the quietest among us were engaging in the best way they knew how. Language wasn’t a barrier. You know the Lord has done a deep work in our midst when the time to part and return to their home countries was met with much reluctance.
Cornerstone is not built on clever ideas, systems, formulae or personalities. We’re built on our covenant with God – that we’ll do all that brings Him pleasure and puts a smile on His Face. We’re covenant people of the Most High God!