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When we speak of callings in Christianity, we must understand for clarity’s sake that there is more than one type of calling. First of all there is a general calling which comes to people, the calling to be saved and then, once saved, to grow in sanctification and holiness (Matthew 20:16, 22:14; 2 Peter 1:10-11). Then there is a verse which can have a dual application: The call of God to the Jews as His chosen people and the calling placed on us based on the spiritual gift(s) God gives us (Romans 11:28-29). It is this second part, our calling based on spiritual gifts, that I want to focus on in this blog.


When we get saved, we are not just saved so that we can stay out of hell. We are saved to serve, to be the servants and witnesses of Jesus Christ and the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). There is a saying we use: “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.” This does not negate the need for Bible reading, prayer, et cetera, but it does mean that God gives us what we need to do what He calls each one of us to do. There are spiritual gifts, and then there is the baptism in the Holy Spirit:


1 Corinthians 12:4-11,27-28:  There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things…Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first, apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.


Ephesians 4:11-12:  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,…


Matthew 3:11:  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.


Acts 1:4-8:  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


I will first clarify what Spirit baptism is. Also known as “the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues,” this is the so-called “second blessing” as it usually occurs sometime after salvation. We can find evidence of this in Scripture because after His resurrection Jesus gave His disciples the Holy Spirit before the events of Acts 1 and 2 (John 20:22). The assertion that we are baptized into the Holy Spirit, thus into the body of Christ, at salvation is true, for you cannot be a saved person apart from the Spirit indwelling you (Romans 8:9-17). For those who had already received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit baptism in Acts 2 was a secondary event (Acts 2:1-4). Spirit baptism can also happen at the same time as salvation. The Scriptures prove this also (Acts 10:43-48).


Granted, Spirit baptism today is not as dramatic as what occurred in Acts 2, but the speaking in other tongues, be it known earthly languages or unknown heavenly languages (1 Corinthians 13:1), is evidence that such a baptism has occurred, and it happens spontaneously, without the need for forcing of the manifestation of such tongues-speaking by the recipient. You can be saved and not be able to speak in tongues. Once you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you will have a heavenly prayer language. Whether you have the actual gift of tongues or not is up to the Spirit of God, as you saw in the 1 Corinthians 12 passage.


Back to callings. It has been said that what you have a passion for can be a clue as to what your calling is. With so many spiritual gifts and offices out there, these “passions” can be for a lot of various things and appear quite different from person to person. For me, called as I am to teach and preach God’s Word, almost from the moment I got saved I was interested not just in reading the Bible, but in studying it. It was second nature to me. Also, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world for me to visualize myself as a preacher and to want to pray. We are all called to represent and tell of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Beyond that, we all have a place in the body of Christ, a “job,” you could say.


Regardless of whether you have an idea of what your spiritual gifts and calling are or not, pray and ask God about it. Not only will He tell you, He will also confirm it also, generally through other people. There are also spiritual inventory tests available to help you determine what your spiritual gifts are. Here are links to some of the better tests:


Online Your Gifts:


Spiritual Gifts Test—Adult Version:


Spiritual Gifts Test:


Spiritual Gifts Test Inventory, Online Assessment to Identify Gifting by the Holy Spirit:


Five Fold Ministry Test:


For those who do not know, the five fold ministry comprises the offices of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher in the ecclesiastical leadership structure. You will not hear a lot about these in many churches and denominations because there are those who teach that the offices of apostle and prophet no longer exist, and even teach that pastor and teacher can be or are the same office. We will not address the specifics of these in this blog. Suffice it to say that there are still apostles and prophets out there, but whoever claims they are one of these had better be absolutely sure. Also, it is not uncommon to find pastors who can teach the Word, but there are also those who are called to be teachers of the Bible yet are not called of God to be pastors.


Not everyone is called to in-church ministry, but then again, the Church is not just a building, it is more truly the body of Christ, comprised of all who are born again. Some people are passionate prayer warriors, gifted to pray far longer and more deeply than even most other devoted Christians. Others have a gift for hospitality, gladly hosting dinners or lunches or perhaps preparing things for church gatherings such as picnics. There are those who are good at working outdoors and fixing things. They can be found mowing elderly widows’ yards or repairing fellow church members’ cars, for instance, or even working on a church’s premises as janitors, maintenance personnel, or groundskeepers. Some people find their calling in writing Christian blogs. For me, it is a natural outgrowth of the spiritual gifts I have been given by God. There are many more things in and out of churches that Christians can do, and of course, there are some who actually are called to ministry as we usually see it—in-church ministry.


In Westernized Christianity we struggle with a hierarchical view of the Church. It is as if those in ministry like pastors, deacons, and singers are the corporate CEO’s and other executives while the janitors, groundskeepers, and food servers are the common laborers. That is nonsense. Everybody is important in the body of Christ. Since the body of Christ is compared to a human body, picture this: Your pinky fingers are not as large or as strong as your legs, but you would definitely notice them if they were gone. While you will never run or walk with your pinkies, you also will never grasp and handle pens and eating utensils with your legs, things your hands (including your pinkies) were designed to do but your legs were not. There is a place for everyone in the body of Christ, and all are equally important to the Lord, not just every place but also every person.


Knowing your calling and being ready for it are two different things. If you are called to actual in-church ministry, know and understand that while such callings carry great privileges, they also carry great responsibilities, and those called thereto will be more strictly judged by God (James 3:1). Spiritual maturity is a must. You do not get saved one week and go out preaching the next (1 Timothy 3:6). Some degree of spiritual maturity is, in fact, necessary regardless of what God called you to do. For example, how can you mow church widows’ lawns if you are still struggling with alcohol or if you are going to get mad and cuss like a nightclubber every time the lawnmower bogs down or hits a rock? What kind of testimony does that give you?


If you have not experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, ask God for it, remembering that our heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts such as this to His children (Luke 11:9-13). You can do some things without the Spirit baptism, such as preach and teach, but you will not be nearly as effective as you would be if you have it. Miracle-type gifts such as the laying on of hands to heal people are very unlikely if not impossible without Spirit baptism. If you do not believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, do not expect to receive it. If you do believe in it, God will give it to you.


One other issue among believers is when people do things they were not called to do. When a person is called to preach the Word of God, there is an anointing that goes with it. The person in tune with the Holy Spirit who is called to be in that pulpit will preach powerfully and effectively. Get someone up there who is not called and, even if he is able to speak eloquently, his preaching will not have either the power or the effectiveness of a God-called pastor. The evangelist has a gifting to share the Gospel far above and beyond what the typical Christian has. When that evangelist gives an altar call, it is normal for many people to come up for prayer. If someone is trying to be an evangelist, even if called to the pastorate, their altar calls are going to be meagerly attended—if anyone even comes forward at all for salvation. And on it goes.


Think of callings as lanes on a highway. Drivers who stay in their lanes flow along with the traffic while those who are in and out of their lanes, or straying into others, can cause all kinds of mayhem and havoc on the road. As in driving, so in ministry: Stay in your lane! Do not preach if you are called to be a janitor. Do not sing in the band or the choir if you are not called to such ministry. If you are not called to be a teacher of the Word, you can and should still learn the Bible well enough to teach your loved ones about it, but do not try it in a church setting. Those are just a few examples.


To sum up: All who are born again have a calling upon their life from God. It may or may not involve in-church ministry. Seek God to find out His calling for you if you do not know it. Spiritual inventory tests can be helpful as well as knowing what things you are passionate about. No matter the nature of your calling, a degree of spiritual maturity is necessary before you can properly and successfully fulfill it. In-church ministry carries great privileges but also great responsibilities. All callings are equally important to God, and every person in the body of Christ is equally important to Him. Do not try to operate in a calling or a spiritual gifting that God has not given you. And one more thing: Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. Callings are not about power, prestige, or anything else like that. Fulfill them willfully and cheerfully, and you will bring both glory and joy to the Lord.



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