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Answering the Call - How to Discover What You Were Made to Do, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2023 5:00 am

Answering the Call - How to Discover What You Were Made to Do, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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January 31, 2023 5:00 am

Do what you love - love what you do. Ever heard that? If you think those are empty words, think again. The God of the universe has created you for a specific purpose and a big part of that purpose is work. The question is do you know what you were made to do? Today, we’ll talk about how you can discover exactly what God made you to do.


When the alarm goes off each morning, do you instantly feel that sense of dread like, ugh, I've got to go to work? Well, let me tell you, you're not alone. Experts say four out of five people are unhappy with their jobs.

So why is that, and what can we do to change it? Keep listening, and we'll discover how to make your work meaningful each and every day. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And if you're part of that group of people who feel unsatisfied with your career, then don't miss these last two programs of our series, Answering the Call. Chip's going to be in Ephesians chapter 2, exploring God's purpose for us and how we can find true fulfillment and joy in that calling. Here now is Chip with his talk, How to Discover What You Were Made to Do. Let me read three quotes that I pulled out of the research that I thought were very encouraging and they set the stage for you discovering the calling God has on your life. And we're talking to your particular calling. We know you were called to a person, Jesus. We know you were called to a purpose, right, to become conformed to His image. We know you're called to a people, the church, and to fit as an interdependent part of His body. And you're called to the process of sanctification to be holy, and you're called to a place. Different places at different times, but He has you in a role.

Some are married, some are single, some are working, some are retired, some are on the East Coast, Left Coast, some are from out of the country. You know, He's called you to a place. But what we want to know in that place is what specifically does He want me to do?

What does my individual role, what's my job description based on my unique designs, what exactly is that? That's what this is about. So quote number one comes from Joe Calhoun and Bruce Jeffrey in their book called Prioritize. And this is a challenging quote. They say, it takes great courage for men and women to discover their calling.

You might circle the word courage. After all, it may not be what you're doing now. And to face your calling squarely may cause some significant disruption in your life.

Anybody had that experience so far? You know, you're thinking down deep, I think I would really, my dreams, I would really like to do this. But if I did, that would mess with expectations, that would mess with finances, that would mess with security. What would so and so think?

My kids, we would, right? It takes great courage, great courage to face your calling. Because there is the chance that you may not be doing it right now. Second quote is on the real positive side by Oz Guinness, his book The Call, that's probably the definitive work on this. I mean, if someone said, calling from God, one book, this is probably the one you'd want to get. Somehow, Oz writes, we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. It's amazing how we look for happiness in all kind of places, isn't it? But we're never happier.

We're never happier than when we're expressing who we really are, who God made us to be. And then the third quote is by a business consultant and coach. And he just makes this observation after working with executives and marketplace leaders and Christian leaders. He says, the vast majority of individuals spend most of their lives focused on activities where they are either incompetent or merely competent. Only rarely do their excellent abilities come into play and almost never do they experience uniqueness. Now, this is a guy who's a coach who tries to get executives aligned in the right place in the right time and help companies leverage doing what they do.

And he just, after all this time, says it's very rare. I think it's because we get motivated and told, remember that false view of work? And if the false view of work is, you know, it's evil and we want to get out of it as much as possible, just get it over with, or it's everything, somewhere in there, instead of looking at how God made us, work becomes identity and so we become what we do instead of do what we are. That quote, it takes courage for men and women to discover their calling. I think it takes courage to rediscover your calling. I think there's probably a lot of people in here that you found your calling and you got moving on your calling. And then it might have been a very good thing.

It might have been financial security. It might have been wise, good, loving people who promoted you out of what you were really good at and passionate at. It might have been expectations you heard as a child or the needs of an organization that this is really important and no one else could do it but you and you need to step in and so out of moral responsibility you said, you know, I'll do. But you don't like what you do. And you're tired and you get bored and you get burned out and you don't dream about it and you don't lose track of time and you're a good soldier.

You're a really good soldier and you've got high morals. But you're not doing what God called you to do. And so with that what I'd like to do is just begin to walk through the process of how do you discover or rediscover what your calling is and here's two diagnostic questions to ponder. Question number one, what would you really like to do if you could do anything in the world and then add to your notes and know you couldn't fail. What would you just whoo like to do. I mean anything in the world. If you knew for sure you couldn't fail.

And you know forget money, forget staff, forget limitations. What would you just love to do if you knew for sure you couldn't fail. My suggestion is the average person can't come up with that. The average person, me being in the very center of the average person gets so consumed with what I'm responsible for and what I ought to do and what I should do and what's important that it's been years since some people have dreamed and said what would I love to do. What's down deep in my heart, what are my passions, what are my dreams.

Second diagnostic question is what are a few things that you're good at and really enjoy doing. I mean doesn't it make sense that if you're designed to do something there's a good chance that you're actually good at it and when you do it you enjoy it. I mean some of us have got this view of God that his arms are crossed and he sort of taps his toe and you know his will is always if it's hard, unpleasant, difficult, something you wouldn't want to do that must be the will of God. No that must be a warped view of God. Do I need to be willing to do whatever God wants me to do?

Absolutely. But when you're in the center of God's will you have a heavenly father who loves you, who made you and you're like an intricate piece of a part that he wants you in the right spot where when you do it remember that remember the bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum. Slow motion right. Chariots of fire. When I run I feel his pleasure. What do you do that when you do it you feel his pleasure? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

And I thought what do I really love to do? I love to teach and preach to change people's perception of Christianity. I love to coach. I've been a coach forever. I mean instead of teams it's churches but I love to extract potential.

I mean I love to see people they were here and now oh man when I see people grow it just I go crazy. I like to create tools and I like to build alliances. I just I love it when someone I sat around a table here and some people were talking about a small group thing that we put together and how they're using it in their home and another group talked about how they're doing it in their church and I just I mean I just you just you just fill me up baby fill me just to think that you get to coach and create tools and people are meeting the real God and their lives are changing and their marriages are changing and the workplace is changing. That's what I'm passionate about and then I thought about what you know I'm going to try this this is a slippery topic so I'm going to try just to give a window of this is how I've processed it so it might help you process it. So I thought so what am I good at and what I really enjoy doing? I like coaching. I like inspiring and motivating large groups. I like translating complex truths into practical simple ways for everyday people and I like building partnerships for exponential impact that that's just that's just who God made me to be. That's what I like to do.

What do you like to do? What are you good at and what I'm going to suggest is is you ought to start writing and you just what am I good at and no one has to see it and you don't have to be falsely humble. Two facts to remember you are fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely made by God. Look in your notes listen to what God says this is about you. David prays I will praise you for I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works. When God looks at you you know sometimes we see the Alps or sometimes we see the Grand Canyon or sometimes we see the delicacy of a butterfly and we think oh God's works are marvelous or we see a picture of those galaxies you know those outer space pictures by the Hubble or something. When God looks at you you're more marvelous than all of that. You're the pinnacle of its creation. You're fearfully and wonderfully made. David says his soul knows it very well. My frame wasn't hidden from you when I was made in secret. Notice this and skillfully wrought you know you've seen a skilled artist you've heard a skilled musician. What's it like when God says he was the skillful one that made you in the lowest part of the earth.

Speaking of God your eyes saw my unformed substance or my embryo. In your book were written for me the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them. And that phrase the days fashioned for me. The focus of that isn't so much extent how many days it's the kind of days.

The days that were fashioned of what would you do in those days. In fact Ephesians 2 10 says for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. There's some good works and what's it say which God prepared beforehand that you should walk in them. There's a unique contribution that grow out of your unique design that God has prepared beforehand because he's fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely made you for you to walk in them and when you do you feel his pleasure you're good at it it impacts others positively everyone looks up and says wow that's God's glory and you have this incredible experience of joy.

That's God's plan. So fact number one is you're fearfully wonderfully made. Fact number two is your unique design your abilities gifts and desires were fashioned by God to equip you to fulfill your unique purpose and calling in life. That's pretty exciting isn't it?

I mean that's not like I mean you know what that and that's true that's true if you're 22 or 92. The $64 question comes to my mind then is how do you discover what that unique design is and how do you begin to put into play in everyday life and to do that I want to explore the concept of personal calling and you'll notice there's a little asterisks and the asterisks at the top under personal calling if you go to the bottom of the notes it says adapted from priorities by Calhoun and Jeffries. I thought of a lot of different ways to explain this I found one paragraph in this book and I thought you know rather than me try and give you the my interpretation I thought this is the clearest picture of it that I've seen. So exploring the concept of calling answering the question here's five truths about calling. I love this. Number one it's yours alone. Calling is unique it doesn't belong to anyone else because it calls on your uniqueness. No one else can serve in your place even if they wanted to. I like that.

You are different from anyone else in the world even if you share the same genetic code with your twin. So the first thing about calling it's yours alone. Second it calls on your unique gifts circle the word gifts.

First it's yours alone but second it's going to call on your unique gifts. You can serve in a way and in a place that no one else on earth can. Even if you're in a position or hold a title that many others have you know gives an example of you know customer service you can name any job. Your unique abilities will allow you to perform that job in a way that no one else can. Think of the dignity and the value and the worth God plays on you regardless of the role or title or job he says I've made you so uniquely that in this role and this job at this time no one can do it quite like you do it.

Isn't that kind of the picture of first Corinthians 12 and 14 and Romans 12 of being a part of this supernatural community the body and just as there are many members of one body and all the members don't have the same function so you are members of one another and that we need and work interdependently. Third you're calling calls on your unique desires. It's not just your gifts it's not just abilities but it's desires. We have different desires.

Certain things that fire me up absolutely bore other people and certain things that fire other people up absolutely bore me. That's why all the churches I've had the privilege of pastoring you know when you form all these small groups I always give people an exit the first two or three weeks. We have this idea I'm a Christian you're a Christian we get in a small group we're supposed to have chemistry. I got news for you don't always have chemistry. There's Christians I hit it off with easily and well and there's Christians that they love God I love God I just don't want to hang out with them but we're afraid to say that out loud. So in all of our small groups I say get in a small group and then after two or three weeks if there's not chemistry there's not a bad person what you say is hey it was great to be with you you guys are really cool I'm gonna look for kind of a little bit better fit.

You say it a little nicer than that but you understand what I'm saying? See you have desires and they're different notice what it says here and you know this is a this is not a necessarily a Christian book it's the magic of calling I would probably replace that with the mystery of calling but the mystery of calling is that you don't tire of it you get to do what gives you joy over and over if you don't know what we're talking about you haven't found it and then I like this if that's okay keep searching. When you're in your calling you can do it over and over and over and over and you just get more and more and more charged up. I was in South Africa and we created a tool I like to do that and I was getting to coach we had pastors and leaders from all over Africa about 200 of them from all these different countries so I like partnerships we had three or four different organizations and and mission groups and people from all over Africa and I was teaching a thing called how to grow a high impact church which was taking kind of a big complex thing and simplifying it for regular people with a variety of educations many of them who didn't have much and helping them make an impact so I mean this one is like got every every cylinder of my design it's like okay check check check check and I get to teach coach and then interact with them. Now I got news for you I mean I love to do what I do but I'm pretty passionate and I know I've got a personal friend in a very large church he said the way I teach the way God wired me I could teach seven services in fact I think he does six on a weekend. My limits three I mean I get I start getting clinically depressed after about week number four if I preach more than that because I I just like adrenaline goes everywhere and I go nuts and and then I go like this so I know I can do about three except these people have come from all over Africa and we have this 12 part series we're supposed to do in two days and when you go overseas they sort of have this you know you're a long way away you probably won't be back soon we want to squeeze everything out of you and so so this guy said we're gonna do this 12 part series in two days but do as much as you can I'm thinking 12 parts these are they're every one is a different message so I've got this thick notebook I've created all this I can't keep that many messages in my head and so I get up you know I wake up you know all the time changes South Africa so I'm up like 3 30 in the morning and I'm going through and studying each message because I give one we have I mean I'm gonna and I got up the next day and I had my most supernatural teaching experience in my life I did back to back to back to back to back to back to back seven different messages and I got stronger over each one and then I have a little window of time and I would talk from people here's a guy who was a Muslim cleric who came to Christ and it all French-speaking Africa and this is what he were talking to him and then there's this other guy and this other guy and I mean it was like it was like being in the sweet spot of your sweet spot of your sweet spot and I got up the next day and did five more and when I got done it was like you wanna play some four-court basketball I mean like does life get any better than this you want to do this again tomorrow when you are in your calling you can do it over and over again and it just recharges you and if you wonder I've never done anything quite like that then God probably bought you here to help you begin the journey to discover that so a calling it's yours alone it centers around your gifts around as your desires and then number four your calling gives you strength and keeps you humble see a lot of us have wanted not wanted to go here because it was arrogant what am I good at listen to this by recognizing your calling you gain the grace to acknowledge others and their calling in their set of unique gifts and abilities I love this line you have no need to appear more important than you already are on the other hand you lose false modesty that says you're not good at anything you grow in quiet confidence that you do make a difference and that you're supposed to do so that is the beauty of the body of Christ my dream for you is that you would actually get to where you know what your strengths are if I gave you a three by five card and I asked you to write on the top of its strengths and then put a line down the middle weaknesses could you in three minutes give me your top three strengths and top three weaknesses and my journey is the average person can't do that now if I said here's a three by five card you have 60 seconds give me your top seven weaknesses the average Christian can do that like that most of us are always trying to improve on our weaknesses and focus on what we can't do and think to even think or talk about our strengths is arrogant I love this prof Hendricks used to say God gave you strengths to have confidence in life God gave you weaknesses so you'd be dependent and realize you need other people in him but Peter Drucker was right all great things occur when you build on islands of strengths our whole educational system probably is fairly backwards we're trying to create all these super balanced people you know you never end up balanced the people who've made the greatest impact are people who leverage their strengths and find other people that are great at their weaknesses now some of your weaknesses you just you know there's a there's a level of stuff you know I'm not a detailed person but I can't say well I'm not a detailed person so my check about never balances and so the world's supposed to understand no I got to figure out how to do that so there's so I'm not saying you're irresponsible but I'm saying where your energy and focus goes you need to understand what your strengths are you need to know I'm good at these things I'm not so good at these others and I'm going to develop my strength I'm going to leverage them I want to take these God given strengths and help them become the best they can become and then finally number five discovering your calling can be the result of a moment or the unfolding of years each person comes to his own comes to it on his own path some at six others at 60 for many people their calling will shift put a line under that this is so true their calling will shift as they move into different seasons of life and so you know God may have brought you here to help you realize well I've always thought I've done this and this is my calling you know sometimes it might be a new season for me it was to call me he brought me here and to teach this so I could hear myself speak and I've been I've been actually all the messages you've had I've been over him five ten times where you get him and then I get to hear him then I get the feedback he brought me here to bring me back to my calling and to say this is what I made you to do chip do that and so you see when you explore the concept it's yours alone rooted in gifts desires it allows you to see your strengths it actually keeps you humble and it can happen in a moment or it can unfold over time for me it was years unfolding I never vocational ministry was never in the cards for me that I could ever see little by little that unfolded and then I thought it was going to be a missionary no no it's going to be a pastor and then as it was going to be the pastor of a large church that was part of the and then as it grew then this is the role inside that large church and then we ran out of room and services and then there was this we didn't try to do it accident it got on a media thing and so the calling then got it kept getting narrow narrow narrow narrow it's going to be about this issue of teaching that's your calling and it's going to be in local church and it's going to be to help regular people live out their lives where Christians really act like Christians and the church really becomes the church and then in 1996 it got real confusing and I asked God please help me see how it all fits together and I had a aha very clarion I mean Chip I want you to be a catalyst to transform how America thinks about God how pastors think about preaching how churches think about their community and how every day believers live out their faith at home and at work I'm in a field Camp Cornelia staff retreat and I heard those words sitting quietly and then the next one did I go too fast write that down and we were on like three radio stations and I think one book was in the works and I laughed out loud God you gotta be kidding me I'm one ordinary guy in one church on the west coast and God says I remember it's catalyst you don't need to be big you don't need to be famous you don't need to be a big shot a catalyst is a tiny chemical when put in a big vat can cause a chain reaction I want people to I want people to return to have a high view of God and high view of scripture I want pastors to quit just giving the feely dealy here's how to do life over here or teach through books of the Bible seven years in the book of Ephesians saying the meaning of the Greek word for the is the and Chip I you know what I want you to do is I want you practically and relevantly give people tools but I want you to teach through books of the Bible in a practical relevant way that causes people to take steps and then give them a tool and show them how and then help other pastors do that and then transform how churches think about their community I want you to model here and every place you go where churches get off of building their own little kingdoms and around all the centrality of the word of God that we all do agree on the world's going to hell in the handbasket and whether you dip dunk or spray I have convictions on all of that but it's not worth arguing about right now and whether you use electric guitar or an organ it's not worth arguing about right now we got people going to hell and we've got Christians that don't act like Christians evangelism and discipleship around the core fundamentals of evangelical Christianity is where that's what we need to focus on and churches need to come together in their communities and help one another and share resources and share staff and talk well of one another and serve the community so that's what I want you to do you've been listening to part one of chip's message how to discover what you were made to do he'll be right back with his application for this teaching from our series answering the call are you looking for a job starting a new career or just desperate for a fresh perspective on your current employment through this eight-part series chip unpacks what the bible has to say about this idea of work and reveals why God intended it to be more than just what we do for a living stay with us as we discover how to find genuine enjoyment and fulfillment in our work and bring praise to God through it to get more plugged in with this series or our many resources visit Living on the Edge dot org that's Living on the Edge dot o-r-g well chips with me in studio now to share a special word that's been on his heart recently so chip would you take a minute and do that absolutely Dave what I want to share today is something really important you are one of a kind unique physical and spiritual DNA you were created by God to fulfill a purpose that no one else can maybe it's to be a safe sounding board when people are wrestling with their faith or maybe it's funding big ideas into big realities I don't know what your purpose is but God has a strategic vision to use your skills to use you in ways that you never dreamed but what has God designed for you not sure well here at Living on the Edge we've created a brand new resource called the real you it's an online questionnaire designed to provide insight into how God wired you this is more than spiritual gift test you identify the patterns in which you think what motivates you and why teams need someone just like you it'll take about 20 minutes to complete and it won't cost you a thing then based on your responses the real you will offer suggestions about how you can practically live out God's purpose for your life whether that's at home in the office at church or in your community as a Living on the Edge partner we want you to be the first to access this resource head over to the real you dot o-r-g to learn more that's the real you dot org most Christians don't know how to leverage their God-given wiring and experiences for the kingdom we want to change that thanks chip as you can tell we are really excited about this new resource we hope the real you will help you discover who you are and how God made you to think act and live and as chip said you can sign up for this free assessment by going to the real you dot org or if it's easier text real to 741 41 that's the word real r-e-a-l to 741 41 app listeners tap special offers well here again is chip to share a few final words as we wrap up today's program and actually begin to come to the end of the series I want to just just talk about this whole issue of calling because on the one hand it's kind of exciting and on the other it's sobering and if you begin to think deeply and you have some courage you realize maybe I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing I mean maybe maybe even it's there's a job change in the future and all that stuff begins to be scary so let's let's just do a little thinking out loud together first and foremost God's calling is a fearful thing that requires great courage in a step of faith there is an issue here that you know we have been brainwashed to believe that you just get a good job you know make money it's a necessary evil and you know life is really after you get off work and that is so unbiblical and so unfulfilling what I want you to know there is a moral mandate that God wants you to do what he made you to do God in my case called me to teach I never dreamed that I could be a teacher I didn't come to Christ until I was 18 I was a basketball coach you know I had a heart for lost people but no real gifts in that way but it was the the encouragement of other people it was a risk I mean I'd already been to college I'd already been to grad school and it was like God you've got to be kidding you want me you want me to go into ministry and I looked at this mountain of four more years of graduate work and I came within an eyelash of going you know something God you know God can use me as a basketball coach but I had this deep inner compulsion to say I have a stewardship of the gifts that God has given me and I'm not going to lie to you seminary was hard and working full-time going to school full-time but it was in that journey that God shaped my life I'm getting to do now I mean as I shared in the teaching today I have a blast doing what I'm doing yes parts of my job are hard like everybody's job but I have a blast doing what I'm doing and there are times that I would say I I am in shock it's almost surreal to see that God would use an ordinary person like me a basketball coach who could be trained by others to teach God's Word in a way that God is choosing to transform literally millions of people's lives what is it that he wants to do and it doesn't have to be big but it needs to be right it needs to be what you're made to do and and so here's my challenge between now and our next broadcast I want you to think and to pray and to maybe just find a little sheet of paper or if you keep a journal or maybe even on a three by five card or open your phone and just type in am I really doing what I was made to do by God and then answer the question do I deeply enjoy what I am doing currently and if not ask God Lord what do you want me to do and if you're willing to respond I want to tell you there may be an adventure that is so deep so great and so fulfilling you could not even imagine that you were the one that will get to experience it God loves you he's got a great plan walk right into it great word Chip thanks well let me take just a quick second and thank the generous people who make monthly donations to support the ministry of Living on the Edge your faithful gifts help us inspire Christians to live like Christians now if you haven't partnered with us yet would you prayerfully consider joining the Living on the Edge team you can set up a recurring donation by going to Living on the Edge org or by texting the word donate to seven forty one forty one that's the word donate to seven forty one forty one or visit Living on the Edge org app listeners tap donate will join us next time as chip wraps up his series answering the call until then this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-31 05:49:25 / 2023-01-31 06:02:21 / 13

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