Is what I am experiencing a ‘calling’?
I have just begun to renew (I say ‘renew’ because I had an extraordinary religious experience when I was 12 and have never forgotten it although I did wander from the path since then) my relationship with Jesus and am experiencing a deepening desire to become more involved and to commit to the faith even more - to the point of investigating Ordination. I am noticing that I’m spontaneously reading the Bible regularly and have started to pray every night, appear to be developing a ‘self-correcting’ (less pesimistic) opinion on life and am investigating/studying Christianity more. Is this a calling?
In the New Testament, we’re told that people become Christians because God ‘calls’ them.
For example, in Romans 1:6, the Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Rome ‘And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ’. So if you have a desire to want to enter into a relationship with Jesus, by confessing your sins to him, and asking him to be your Saviour and Lord, then it is because God is calling you. If that is what you are feeling, then it indeed a ‘call’ to be in relationship with God, as a Christian. (For further verses that talk about this, check out 1 Corinthians 1:9, Eph 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalionians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9).
As to whether God is calling you to a certain job, whether it be ordination, or whatever else, the New Testament never says that Christians are ‘called’ to certain, specific jobs. Let me explain. The people throughout the bible that do receive God’s specific call include unique people such as prophets (eg. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah), and the Apostles (eg. the Apostle Paul). Their ‘call’ was unmistakable, in that God appeared to them, and said ‘Hey! This is what you’re gunna do!’. God could still do that with us, but from what you’re saying, it sounds more like an internal, subjective feeling that you’re experiencing, not an external, unmistakeable appearance of God. Internal, subjective feelings about doing certain jobs never appear in the Bible, and thus should not be thought of as a ‘call’ from God.
Christians are never told that they are to expect ‘calls’ to go into ministry. Instead, we should have a ‘desire’ to serve God’s people in this way. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:1 ‘Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[ie. bishop] he desires a noble task’. If you want to go into full time ministry of any kind, then that is a good desire to have, because ministry is a ‘noble task’. But it is a desire that comes from within us, rather than a feeling of God ‘calling’ us. We should also have the right qualifications, in terms of character and knowledge – see passages such as 1 Tim 3:1-13 (note also verse 6). If you do meet those requirements, then a good way forward is to start serving at your local church (ensuring it is a bible-believing church), and check out websites such as http://www.mts.com.au, which are geared toward people thinking about full-time ministry.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au