Here are 4 biblical steps you can take as a Christian man to find your calling from God.
1. Start Big and Work Your Way Down to the Smaller Details
As I talked about in my article called 3 Biblical Differences Between Your Purpose, Calling, and Career, I believe these things are very different from one another.
- Your career is how you will make money. That’s important to figure out as a man (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
- Your purpose is your main reason for existing. Every human was created with the same purpose, which is to glorify God (Romans 11:36).
- Your calling will be unique to you and it can change throughout the course of your life. Your calling is the specific way you actually glorify God in practical ways. You can get paid to do your calling but it’s not necessary. (1 Corinthians 1:11, Galatians 2:7-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11)
To find God’s calling on your life, I believe it’s wise to start with the big picture and then work out the details as you move forward with the Lord. In other words, get clear about your purpose before you seek clarity about your calling.
You need to figure out the “why” before God will really lead you into the “what.” If your motives are off, you will pursue false callings that don’t really fit you. You will be led by your love for the praise of people rather than truly doing what Jesus is leading you to do. Once you get your heart right with God and know your reason for existing is to glorify him, then you can start trying to figure out “how” you will do this.
Big picture, you glorify God by imitating Jesus. As you mature in your character and reflect Christ more and more through the process of sanctification, God will refine you more and more for the specific callings he will lead you into.
It’s a similar to becoming a highly trained soldier who is a part of the special forces. You don’t just join the military and get put into the special forces training unit. Rather, you start at the bottom like everyone else. As you develop in the fundamentals and get experience, you then have opportunities to refine your specific skillset. But if you never succeed in basic training, don’t think you are going to jump to being a Navy SEAL.
This principle of starting big and working your way down to the details can be seen in Philippians 2. In Philippians 2:1-11, we are told to imitate Christ. That’s your main goal in life. That’s your purpose as a Christian. But as an individual man, you will have to make minute, daily decisions on how to actually live your life for God. Notice what Philippians 2:12-13 then states:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
2. Do What Needs to Be Done, But Follow Your Passions Whenever Possible
One common mistake many men make when they are trying to figure out their calling is that they neglect their duties. Many people think that to follow your passions in life, you have to quit your job and “go all in.” They know it’s a risk, but they feel this is the only way.
There are many problems with this path. First, this wrongly conflates your calling with your career. Because people think they need to get paid to do their calling, they feel they first need to not get paid in other ways so they can then work on getting paid through this one passion they have. This rarely works out and gives you a very small financial window to pursue your passions, which usually isn’t enough time.
Another problem with this path is that to find your calling, you need to be more faithful in your duties, not less. If you can’t go to a job you hate as you pursue your passion on the side, you will never have the tenacity and grit required to get through all the hard parts that will be required even when you are walking in your calling.
Lastly, it’s simply impractical and self-defeating to quit your job and “go all in” when you don’t have a way to support yourself. As a man, you need to be financially independent. For example, when needed, Paul was also a tent maker. Most men will need a career path to financially support their calling. And even if you do find a way to get paid for your calling, the path to that goal will need to be funded.
Therefore, it’s much wiser to work and pursue your calling rather than thinking you need to choose one or the other.
If something is that important to you, you will find a way to do it. Make the time. If you can’t work a full-time job and pursue this passion in the margins of your life, you probably haven’t found your true passion. No one ever changed the world by working 8 hours a day. If you’re not using your Saturdays to work on your passion, it’s doubtful you will ever walk in your calling to the level God wants for you.
In the NLT, Philippians 2:13 states, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” What desire do you have? Do you love to preach? Do you love to write? Do you love to help people solve problems? Do you like working with your hands? Do you like administrating? Do you have musical passions? Whatever desires God has given you, pursue them with the power God gives you. But make sure all this is done “to do what pleases him.”
If you do your duty and pursue your passions, God will lead you to your calling in his timing.
3. Always Do What You Would Do Even If You Never Got Paid to Do It
What would you do even if you never got paid to do it? Usually your calling is connected to that thing. If you need money to motivate you to do something, it’s not your true calling from God (1 Corinthians 9:14-16).
And oftentimes when you do pursue that calling even when you are not getting paid, one day you end up getting so good at that calling people are willing to pay for your help or financially support your ministry.
But if you just wait for someone to hand you a check, you will never develop the skill to be worthy of being handed a check. Always do what you would do even if you never got paid to do it.
4. Be Faithful with the Little and God Will Eventually Give You More to Manage
In Luke 16:10-12 Jesus said:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
If you want to lead, you need to first learn how to follow. If you want to own a business, you need to first learn how to be an employee. If you want to be a godly husband one day, you need to learn to be a godly single man now.
One of the best ways to find your calling in the future is to be faithful in your calling in the present. As I said, your calling will change throughout the course of your life. Sometimes God will call you to do things you don’t love to do, but you must always love the One who has called you to do it.
As you serve God now, he will lead you to where he wants you in the future. As the old saying goes, “Bloom where you are planted.” You don’t know the future, but God does, so follow God and he will lead you into your calling. Ecclesiastes 11:5-6 states:
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”