I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
“He received the call to the ministry at age 16.” “She was called to work with disabled children in Africa.” For most of us, the Call of God is associated with ministers and missionaries. Not the sort of thing that touches the life of the “ordinary” Christian.
Wrong, says Pastor Tim Keller. The call of God on the life of every believer, he explains, is absolutely necessary, and a quick search of Scripture backs Keller up. The Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament book of Thessalonians, “He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thessalonians 2:14 NLT). And, in Romans we read: “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11 :29). John said: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3 NLT).
“Each person must hear the call of God,” Keller explains, and when God’s call comes, it isn’t something that you’re likely to miss or overlook. There are three things to notice about the call of God. One, the call comes in power. “God’s call humbles, breaks, disturbs, convicts and shakes us;” Keller says. “Without it [we] are just nice little idolaters.” Each of us must ask ourselves if our lives reflect this life-altering interaction--if God’s Call has not had this impact on me, I may be moral and religious, but I am still an idolater, because I will live for my career, my family—something else other than God. I am in a “spiritual death sleep” without the Call.
Secondly, God’s call is an act of grace. I am not called because I am qualified, but I am qualified because the Call has come! A human call can’t give the requisite qualifications but God’s Call does. What He calls me to, I will be equipped to do. “Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called,” explains I Corinthians 7:20. God knows exactly the state we are in, our gifts, our weaknesses and He will provide all that is needed to answer the call because his call is transformational!
Thirdly, God’s call is radical and its purpose is to bless others. “At the heart of the Call of God is the surrender of the will,” says Keller. When God called Abraham, He said, “Get out of your country, leave your people and your family and go to the land that I will show you.” And Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8) so that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed (See Genesis 12:1-3). Am I willing to venture out of my comfort zone, give up my plans and my ideas of what will be good for my life? Answering requires faith-infused obedience but if we will surrender to his call, the impact of our obedience extends beyond ourselves, enabling us to bring His Kingdom in the here and now.
Answering God’s call all-out with the words, “anywhere, anytime, anything” is a hard decision. It’s a decision that often doesn’t happen until the idols in our lives have been smashed to pieces, when we come to the end of ourselves.
The call of God on a life comes with power to transform, to equip and to radically bless others. “Therefore, my brothers and sisters,” 2 Peter 1:10-11 exhorts, “make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Resource Reading: 2Thessalonians 2:13-15
 Timothy Keller, "Real Security and the Call of Abraham,” Gospel in Life (audio blog), April 22, 2001. http://www.gospelinlife.com/real-security-and-the-call-of-god-5233, accessed December 4, 2016.