The month of May, for me, is MY AIM MAY and it is a prayer evaluation and confirmation of God's primary calling on my life and evaluation and confirmation of God's sub-callings in my life.
The principle I live by is Primary callings DO NOT CHANGE while sub-callings change quite frequently.
I wrote 31 devotions to explain what I do in these weeks of prayer and evaluation. Here are just a few things from them:
MY LIFE VERSE:
I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore (the fact of life after death, the truth of the gospel, and Jesus’ victory over sin and death’) my dear brothers… stand firm (stay in the stream of the historic and glorious gospel)- let nothing move you (including cultural pressure, temptation, enemies, or hard circumstances)- always giving yourself FULLY to the work of the Lord (Gal 2:20)- because YOU KNOW (I John 5:11-13)- your labor in the Lord is NOT IN VAIN (Romans 8:1 and the covenant promises of God).
Calling is the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to His summons and service.
- What are my constant besetting sins?
- Who are my significant relationships?
- What makes me feel alive?
- What is the core reasons for sadness or depression?
- What am I ashamed of?
- What does my wife LOVE about me?
- What make my wife the most frustrated?
- What aspects do my children love… what makes them insecure or anxious?
- What does I Corinthians 13 look like in my relationships?
- How am I doing In the 10 commandments?
- Where does the Sermon on the Mount sting me?
- What keeps me from sharing my faith more?
- Why am I not more excited about Lord’s Day worship?
- What risk would you take if you knew it would end up OK?
- If you were given 6 weeks to live- what would you begin doing?
- What makes me laugh? Who makes me laugh?
- Where am I bearing a grudge or bitterness?
- Where do I tell my biggest lie? What does that say about me?
- What gets me grumpy? What makes me angry?
A DECISION GRID
SEARCH Biblical passages for HIS GENERAL WILL and the boundaries. A VERY helpful passage is I Thessalonians 4. It says:
1) God’s WORD is my authority.
It sets my motive– To Please God by:
a- spending time in prayer
b-reading the Bible
c-fellowship- especially with my wife
d-practicing discipline which honors God
e- the priority of loving others (especially my wife and children)
I Thessalonians also tells me what to aspire to:
- A QUIET LIFE
- A LIFE IN WHICH I EVALUATE MYSELF INSTEAD OF OTHERS
- A LIFE WHERE I WORK WITH MY HANDS AND USE MY TALENTS
- A LIFE THAT IS NOT DEPENDENT ON OTHERS
I also had some great questions to ask:
- IS IT LOVING?
- WILL I BE A GIVER OR A TAKER?
- CAN I PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL?
- DOES IT PROMOTE ME OR GOD?
- IS IT RESPONSIBLE (PROVIDES FOR FAMILY)?
- WILL IT CREATE A DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS?
- WHAT DOES MY WIFE THINK?
- DOES IT CHALLENGE ME?
- WILL OUR FAMILY GROW?
- WILL I BE ABLE TO SERVE AND BUILD GOD’S KINGDOM?
Finally there ARE two big reminders:
God guides: But not like a horse or a mule (Psalm 32:8,9) He expects me to use common sense and my mind.
Be peaceful: I am His child and He will be with me…no matter what.
If we keep ourselves in this mode- His quiet voice- the voice of a shepherd will pierce the darkness and silence.
Now this is easy to say and HARD to do- BECAUSE we tend to do what WE WANT TO DO.
Often when we tell someone we are praying about a request- I call it ‘the slow NO”.
Here is what we ‘tend’ to do- and it has NOTHING to do with ‘calling”:
1) In making big decisions, we basically choose what we want to do. Even our prayers often are a covering of manipulation.
2) In making big decisions, what our peers think is usually more important than what God thinks.
3) When making big decisions, we often pick a position of power and pride over humility and service.
4) When making big decisions, our tentacles are up to catch the information that supports our presuppositions and we are not dissuaded by countering arguments.
“Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ- the greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him…. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.”
“To make a career or professional choice on selfish grounds is probably the greatest single sin any young person can commit, for it is a deliberate withdrawal from the allegiance to God of the greatest part of time and strength.”
“The call of Jesus IS personal but not purely INDIVIDUAL; Jesus summons his followers not only to an individual calling but also to a corporate calling.”
“Not only during the ascent but also during the descent my will-power is dulled. The longer I climb the less important the goal seems to me, the more indifferent I become to myself. My attention has diminished, my memory is weakened. My mental fatigue is now greater than the bodily.
IT IS SO PLEASANT TO SIT DOING NOTHING- and therefore so dangerous. Death through exhaustion is- like death through freezing- a pleasant one.”
Guinness quotes Oswald Chambers as a deep conviction to this vice:
I have 31 devotions that explore finding aim and purpose in your life.We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient…. but it does require the grace of God to live twenty-four hours in everyday as a saint, to go through the drudgery of a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored, existence as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is inbred in us that we have to do the exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in the mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.
You can find them here: My Aim May
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