Monthly Archives: July 2013
Today is the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this entry to Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Dear St Ignatius, ask God to help me pray with sincere faith this prayer you used to pray:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, also my understanding and all my will. Everything I have and possess You have given me with love. All the gifts You have given me I gratefully return to You. Do with them, Lord, whatever You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace. This is enough for me, and nothing more will I ask. Amen.”
A treasure buried in a field, a pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of heaven (of God) as a great treasure or as a pearl of great price, we will not have to be told to renounce what we have to obtain it. The kingdom of God will be so attractive that we will joyfully give up everything just to get it.
This was the response of St. Ignatius of Loyola to God who attracted him and won him over as he was recuperating from a broken leg. He abandoned his earthly ambitions and single-mindedly sought God. He later said that should the Society of Jesus ( which he founded and was dearer to him than life itself) be disbanded, he would need only a few moments of prayer to regain his composure. That was because what mattered to him was the will or rule of God.
When God is your all-sufficient all, you will gladly let go of anything.
Answer: People want to know how they can find what their spiritual calling is, i.e. what God is calling them to do with their life. They want to know the one, grand purpose God has for them, the one dominant spiritual gift that will reach hundreds or thousands or millions. The truth is, however, God doesn’t call many people to dedicate their lives to one specific area. And if He does, He does so in His own timing.
In popular Christian culture, it is usually the people who find their niche and stay there for years who get the attention. Major para-church leaders, musicians, and evangelists often spend decades working at and perfecting the one area in which God has called them to serve. But the vast majority of believers are not called to a single, ground-breaking ministry. Instead, we’re called to several, depending on our stage of life, our spiritual maturity level, and the needs of those around us. God calls us to serve where we are. Someone with the gift of teaching may lead a Sunday school class for a while, teach at a Christian school, and then write curriculum. Or they may work at a bank and find opportunity to teach others about God through more informal situations. We are ultimately called to fill the needs of the body (1 Corinthians 12:7), but that doesn’t mean we’ll have a single, lifelong ministry to concentrate on, although sometimes it does.
Sometimes God does give an individual a specific ministry, but He always does so in His own timing. Like training before a competition, it takes time to develop the wisdom and skills we need (1 Corinthians 3:2). If God were to give us the mission before the training, we’d try to do too much too soon. Instead, God holds us back, taking time to build our practical skills (Luke 2:52), spiritual knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), and faith (James 2:22). James spoke to this in James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Many people are anxious to discover their calling from God, but when “calling” is used in the New Testament, it almost always refers to our calling as believers (Romans 11:29; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:18, 4:1, 4; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; 2 Peter 1:10), not our calling to a specific ministry. Ultimately, our “calling” is to love God, love others, obey God, and take care of others. If we concentrate on fulfilling the responsibilities He’s given us now, God will take care of our impact on the world.
Answer: There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation: 1) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids. 2) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually. If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.
Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” The only decision God does not want us to make is the decision to sin or resist His will. God wants us to make choices that are in agreement with His will. So, how do you know what God’s will is for you? If you are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for your life, God will place His desires on your heart. The key is wanting God’s will, not your own. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). If the Bible does not speak against it and it can genuinely benefit you spiritually, then the Bible gives you the “permission” to make decisions and to follow your heart. If you truly seek God’s will with a humble spirit and an open mind, He will reveal His will to you.