World of Faith

Fulfilling Your Calling: Part Two | August 12, 2007

This week I am continuing my blog series on “Fulfilling Your Calling,” but before I do that, I want to apologize and then make one other comment. First I want to apologize for the delay in this series. I have been lately very busy in my personal life, and that is why I have requested my readers to submit guest blogs. It is the past few weeks where I have desired to publish guest blogs — because I get busy — but I still want to continue this blog, and the thoughts that God has led me to publish on my own — yet I wish to also publish the like-minded views of others. So, I do apologize for not writing the past few weeks. However, I also want to encourage my readers to seriously consider sending a guest blog submission for editorial review. For those who might be new to “World of Faith,” the policies for a guest submission are in Part One of “Fulfilling Your Calling.” Please send your submission to jbkrems@excite.com, and I will review it, and then notify you personally about whether I will approve or disapprove your submission. If your submission is approved, I will also notify you when it will be scheduled for being published. And all editorial decisions will be final. For more information on this process, please read Part One of “Fulfilling Your Calling.”

So, back in July, I began this series on “Fulfilling Your Calling.” Everyone in the Body of Christ has a unique calling or calling(s) on their life, and one of the keys to fulfilling your calling is obedience, and walking the call out. In Part One, I thus emphasized the call of God in general, and addressed the need for solid, biblical, godly character as necessary to fulfill your calling. I specifically shared seven character qualities, which are found in 2 Pet. 1:4-8, and I explored them in depth in Part One. The final character quality I addressed was love, which is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit according to Galatians 5. Further, Eph. 3:16 says that we are to be “rooted and grounded in love.” The key is that if we demonstrate the seven character qualities of 2 Pet. 1:4-8, concluding in love, then we will not only exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, but we will ALSO be spiritually grounded. Even more important, we will be empowered to walk in the Spirit, which is the topic of this week’s entry.

Walking in the Spirit is VERY essential to fulfilling your calling, but even more broadly, it is essential to living a godly, righteous life before God, which is God’s calling… God’s will… for everyone. So many people in life question God’s will for their life. Just talk to most anyone in the 18-30 age bracket. This is a side note, but August 31st of this year, which is just 19 days away from today, I will turn 27 years old. Yes, if you are reading this, you are reading the blog of a 26-year-old born-again Christian in Edmond, Oklahoma. But most of my friends are in the 18-30 age group. Some are older than I am, and some are younger. But one thing I see, which very much concerns me, is the lack of direction in the age group of these people’s lives. In fact, the sad indictment is that I know more Christians in this age group who lack direction for their life than non-Christians. Earlier this week, I spoke with a friend of mine who lives in Fairfax, Virginia. We went to college together at George Mason University, and we had not talked together in several months. I learned that although she is 28 years old (surprisingly), she has spent the last several months over the summer “figuring out her life.” This is just one example of many people — who have either just graduated high school, and are taking time off before college — or those presently in college — or those who have recently graduated from college — all of which are in the same position, in that they lack direction for their life. And sadly, this is more true among Christians that I know, compared with non-Christians. But, the good news is that we CAN have direction for our life, and that direction is found in the Word of God. I am going to address this even further in the next entry for my blog, but for now please understand there are certain items that are God’s will and direction for EVERYONE’s life, no matter who they are, or what their calling(s) might be.

One key concept that is essential for EVERYONE is to walk in the Spirit. When I was first introduced to this concept, back when I lived in St. Louis, it sounded kind of mysterious to me. I knew I needed to pray (which I will discuss in the future), and I knew I needed to read the Word of God (which I will discuss next week), but when “walking in the Spirit” was discussed, the concept seemed so ambiguous and vague — and mystical, too. It was like a mystery that was hard for me to fathom. Well, over the years I’ve gained some understanding of walking in the Spirit, because that very subject is discussed in the Word of God. But before we go to the Scriptures, a key ingredient to walking in the Spirit is to develop godly character. I would encourage my readers to re-read and review Part One, where I discussed that issue, because having godly character and walking in love is essential to walking in the Spirit.

Now, what DO the Scriptures say about walking in the Spirit? First, in the context of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (as well as the deeds of the flesh), Paul wrote in Gal. 5:16-18 (NKJV), “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” So, this is the will of God for everyone. We need to walk in the Spirit, which means we need to be led by the Holy Spirit in all that we do. The parallel Scripture passage that explores this concept in further detail is Romans 8:1-14 (NKJV). Paul begins in Rom. 8:1-2, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” What Paul is saying here is that if you are saved, if the Holy Spirit has come to live inside you, and you are born again, then you are not condemned — you are set free from the penalty of death for your sins — and the “proof” of that is that if this life transformation has happened to you, then you WILL walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh. This is because the law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. Before you were saved, you were under condemnation because of the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death basically says that if you sin, the penalty is death (Rom. 6:23), but there is a GREATER law for those who are in Christ Jesus — for those who have made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior — and that law is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus — it is the law of love, which sets us free from the law of sin and death.

Paul continues then in Rom. 8:3-4, “For what the law (of sin and death) could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Thus, the law that we are speaking of here is really the way in which God dealt with man under the Law of Moses. The fact is as Christians we live under a new and better covenant, which is based on grace and faith, and not on a works-based righteousness. The Scriptures speaks of this law as a “tutor” that leads us to grace, by showing our need for Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God the Father sent Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God in the flesh, so that He (Jesus) could fulfill the righteous requirement on our behalf. Righteousness would then no longer be based on works as it was under the law of sin and death (the law of Moses, the Old Covenant, etc.) This is the promise of the Word of God, for every believer, who applies the Word of God by walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh. Make sense?

Well, Paul explains further in Rom. 8:5-8, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Paul is clearly discussing two groups of people here, those who live according to the flesh, and those who live according to Spirit. If you walk according to the Spirit, you will live according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh, their mind is carnal and fleshly, and that is enmity, which means to be hostile, towards God. The carnal, un-renewed mind (Rom. 12:1-2) is not subject to the will of God, and is totally depraved (it cannot be subject to God’s ways). Thus, those who are in the flesh cannot please God — they are not in faith according to Heb. 11 (without faith it is impossible to please God). However — the good news is for those who live according to the Spirit — they walk in the Spirit, they are spiritually minded, and they have life and peace, praise God!

Then Paul encourages us in Rom. 8:9-11, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” So, if you are Christian, which means you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and have thus received the indwelling Holy Spirit, then your flesh is dead to sin, and alive to Christ because God has imputed His righteousness in you, and you have life through the Holy Spirit indwelling your spirit.

Finally, Paul says in Rom. 8:12-14, “Therefore, brethern, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; for if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” What Paul is saying here is that we as Christians are debtors to God for what He did for us. He paid a debt we could not pay, so we are in debted to Christ. Paul is very clear here, as he is in Rom. 6:23, that the penalty for sin is death. Not just physical death, but eternal death and separation from God. However, the GOOD NEWS is that as a Christian, you can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body (see Gal. 5 for the deeds of the flesh), and thereby live by and be led by the Spirit, because you ARE a child, a son of God.

And so, that is walking in the Spirit. It is God’s will for everyone. It is God’s calling for every believer, to be LED by the Holy Spirit, to LIVE according to the Spirit, and put to death the deeds of the body, or of the flesh, which are listed in Gal. 5, and you can reference that chapter for more information.

Next time I will move into another key to fulfilling your calling, and that is meditating in the Word of God, the Scriptures. After that, we will discuss prayer, and then faith and obedience, and I believe that will wrap up this five-part series on “Fulfilling Your Calling.” Again, a reminder to send me your guest blog submissions at jbkrems@excite.com, for my review. I look forward to publishing some of those this fall. Until next time, may God richly bless you. Amen.

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