Gods Reward For Fullfilling Your Calling

Devotional image from Rick Warren
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

When you live out God’s call on your life, he’ll reward you.

And here’s the best part about that reward: It’ll last forever.

The Bible says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

I could write a hundred books yet never fully explain all that awaits you in heaven.

But let me start with this: Your prize for fulfilling your calling will be to share everything that God has in heaven. You’ll share his Kingdom, his glory, his power, and more. It’ll all become yours.

Life on earth is a test. God could have just created you and taken you straight to heaven. But he wanted to test your faithfulness. He gives you a few things, like opportunities and relationships, and puts them in your care. Then he says, “Let’s see what you can do with them.” If you’re faithful with a little, then he can trust you with all of his riches, power, and glory for all of eternity in heaven.

The Bible says it like this: “Live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

Isn’t that an amazing promise?

One day, God will share his Kingdom and his glory with you and me!

So make the most of your calling. Make your life count. Your eternity will be impacted by it.

Don’t Miss This Call

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

If you were told that God was going to call you sometime today, would you be excited or scared? Would you let the call go through to voicemail, or would you answer right away?

The truth is, the Bible says God has already called you. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

Now, it’s not the same as a phone call—except that it is a message directly to you from God and it is personal, one-to-one.

The call of God is your life mission, the one he gave you when he created you. But don’t confuse your calling with your career. Maybe you’re called to be a teacher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in a classroom. Or you may be called to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean you’ll work in journalism or even write novels.

Your calling is far more significant than any job. It is an all-encompassing mission that rests at the center of your life and should influence everything you do.

Throughout the Bible, God calls people to fulfill that special mission—such people as Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and Nehemiah and Mary and Peter and Paul. They each had a unique roll that supported God’s plan to redeem humanity.

And the Bible says that God has called you to an equally important task.

Paul writes in Ephesians 1:18, “My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people”.

The greatest of those glorious blessings is your intimate relationship with God. Focus on him, and he’ll talk to you about your calling.

Let Go Of Whats Slowing You Down

Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

If you decided to run a race, you couldn’t do it successfully with unnecessary baggage. You wouldn’t wear nine layers of clothes. That would be a disaster! People who run races strip down to the bare essentials—a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and the lightest pair of shoes they can find. They don’t want to carry anything they don’t absolutely need.

You’re in a race, too. That’s how the Bible describes the Christian life—the journey to become more like Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us”.

Just like runners shouldn’t carry extra baggage along their route, you shouldn’t either. To become the person God wants you to become, you must let go of some stuff along the way.

That starts with making sure you’re running your particular race, according to Hebrews 12:1. Before you can run your God-given race, you must discard everyone else’s plan for your life.

Only you can run that race. Your mom or dad can’t run it. Your boyfriend or girlfriend can’t run it. And you can’t run anyone else’s race either. You have to run your own race.

Once you decide to run, you have to get rid of anything that drags you down. You have to eliminate the sins that entangle you. You have to get rid of the expectations (your own and the expectations of others). You have to let go of your own plans and surrender to God’s purpose.

When you do all of that, you’re telling God, “I’m ready to become the person you’ve called me to be. I’m ready for my race.”

That’s the first step to running a great race.

Your Called To Become Like Christ

“God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

Most of us had big dreams when we were young. We wanted to become something great. Maybe it was a baseball player or a ballerina or the president.

For most of us, that dream looks a bit different today. In fact, you may even think you’ve missed out, that you didn’t become what you hoped to become.

But here’s something you need to know: You have been called to become something significant. Or more precisely, you’ve been called to become like someone significant.

The Bible says, “God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

You’re called to become like Jesus. That doesn’t mean you’re going to become like a god. We’ll never be little mini-gods. That’s not going to happen.

But God does want you to become godly—to become like him. He wants you to take on the characteristics of Jesus, who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, self-controlled, and gentle (you may recognize these as some of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23).

Will that kind of growth happen overnight? Absolutely not. Will it happen easily? Nope.

But you’ll get there.

The Bible promises us this: “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).

Next time you think about the fruit of the Spirit and get discouraged at how far you still have to go, remember this: God isn’t finished with you yet! He is still working to make you more like Jesus.

Your Lasting Identity Comes from Gods Family

“You are members of God’s very own family . . . and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19).

Much of our identity is based upon our relationships.

We know who we are in relationship to other people. People who have gone through a divorce or the death of a spouse know this. When that relationship ends, many people have trouble coming to grips with who they are. Or if they’ve been laid off from a job that’s been tied to their identity, it can be really tough to get clarity with their identity.

That’s why God wants us to gain our identity from a relationship that’ll never end: our relationship with his family.

The Bible says, “You are members of God’s very own family . . . and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19).

It doesn’t matter what family you’ve had in the past. Your identity doesn’t come from it. Your identity comes from your relationship with God’s family.

In fact, your physical family was just a channel to get you into God’s family. God used your parents—whether they were good parents or bad parents—to bring you into the world. But his real goal wasn’t to keep you in that family; it was to put you in his family.

Your spiritual family is actually more important than your physical family. Physical families don’t last forever. People grow up. They move away. They get divorced. They die.

Your spiritual family will last forever.

When that’s what your identity is built upon, it’ll last.

Spiritual Maturity Is Never an End in Itself

“Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Service is not something you tack onto your schedule to fill up your “spare time.” It is the heart of the Christian life. Jesus came “to serve” and “to give”—and those two verbs should define your life on earth, too.

Jesus taught that spiritual maturity is never an end in itself. Maturity is for ministry! As you grow spiritually, you can give to others. It’s not enough to keep learning more and more. You must act on what you know—and practice what you claim to believe. Bible study without service leads to spiritual stagnation.

The old comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is still true. Galilee is a lake full of life because water flows into it and then also out of it. In contrast, nothing lives in the Dead Sea because there’s no outflow, so the lake has stagnated.

The truth is, if you’ve been following Jesus for a while, you probably know more Scripture than you’re putting into practice. What you may need is experience serving in some way at your church, so you can exercise your spiritual muscles.

As you mature in Christ, your focus can increasingly shift toward living a life of service. Jesus came to serve, and he will help you become a servant, too.

The Right Attitude For Quiet Time

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

You may understand that a daily quiet time is necessary for spiritual growth and be motivated to do it, but how do you go about having one?

You have to start with the proper attitudes. In Gods eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do.

On one occasion God told the prophet Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). It is quite possible to do the right thing but with the wrong attitude.

When you meet with God, you want to come with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to have a good time of fellowship with him and to receive a blessing from your time together. That was what King David expected: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you” (Psalm 63:1).

Don’t rush into Gods presence, but prepare your heart by being still before him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the world. Listen to the prophet Habakkuk: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20; also see Psalm 89:7).

You are meeting with the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Redeemer of humanity, Decide before your quiet time that you will do anything and everything that God wants you to do. Jesus said, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17).

Don’t Worry – Worship

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today’” (Matthew 6:31-34).

How do you know you’re not experiencing the love of God?

You’re worried.

You can’t simultaneously worry and worship God. Every time you worry, you’ve forgotten how much God loves you. Worry is really acting like an atheist. It’s pretending you’re an orphan rather than a child of God.

Jesus said, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today’” (Matthew 6:31-34).

Jesus tells us there’s a truth that’s much more important than anything we’re worrying about: We have a heavenly Father who created us, loves us, wants what is best for us, and is watching over us. He is working for our good and has given us hundreds of promises of his faithfulness.

Worry is pretending you don’t know any of that.

My son Josh doesn’t like to fly when there’s turbulence. A few years ago, he was on a plane experiencing constant turbulence. He told me later, “I had to decide whether I would worry or worship. So instead of worrying, I put in my ear buds and put on a bunch of worship songs.”

You’ll either worry or worship for the rest of your life. You’ll either panic or pray. You’ll either look at your problems or look at God.

Which will you choose?

Your Greatest Dream Is Still Possible

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).

You’re capable of far more than you understand right now. You just need someone to believe in you.

I have good news for you: Someone already does.

When someone believes in you unconditionally, as God does, it releases you to take great risks. You have unfulfilled dreams in your life because you’ve been scared to death to go after them. You’ll die with unfulfilled dreams unless you let one truth really sink in: God loves you unconditionally.

No matter who you are and no matter what’s in your past, God believes in you far more than you believe in yourself. That means fear doesn’t have to stop you anymore.

The Bible says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18 NIV).

Think you’ve blown it? Ready to throw in the towel on your dream? God’s love says to not be afraid to give it another shot.

When I was in seventh grade, my family lived in Northern California, home to the redwoods. In my shop class, everyone was supposed to make something. I wanted to make a redwood table for my mom and dad. Unfortunately, I have zero artistic or crafting ability. I worked on that table for six months in our barn, but it was still a mess.

One day, my dad heard me sobbing over my table in that barn. I told him of the mess I’d made of it. I wanted so badly for it to be nice, but it was awful.

I’ll never forget what my dad told me: “Son, it’s okay. We can start over, and this time I’ll help you.”

My dad was a master carpenter. I knew if he said he’d help, we would succeed.

Your heavenly Father is telling you that today. You may have messed up. You may feel as if your dream is dead.

But God says to you today, “It’s okay. We can start over, and this time I’ll help you.”

And when God says he’ll help, you can do anything.

Why We Pray, ” Your Will Be Done”

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

We worship God when we give him our lives every time we pray. Jesus teaches that when we pray, we should commit ourselves to God’s will.

God has a specific will for your life. Romans 12:2 says that his will is good and perfect and it fits you. Part of connecting with God is saying, “God, what is your will for me today? I want to do your will.”

In heaven, God’s will is done perfectly. The problem on earth is that God’s will is not always done. That’s why we’re to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We’re saying, “God, I want to submit to you. I want to do what you want me to do.”

“Your will be done” can be prayed in three different ways. You can say it in resentment: “Your will be done, but I don’t like it.” You can say it in resignation: “Your will be done, because I can’t help it.” Or you can say it in anticipation: “Your will be done, because I know it is the best, and that’s what I want for my life today!”

Your earthly father may not always know what’s best, but you can trust that your heavenly Father does. That’s what it means to say, “Your will be done.”

Pray this prayer: “God, I know your will for my life is better than anything I can dream up. I want to give you my life. I want your will done in my life.”

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