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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - When Can I Start Living My Calling

James Meehan - When Can I Start Living My Calling

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    James Meehan - When Can I Start Living My Calling
TOPICS: Calling

Fulfilling your God-given purpose of loving him with your whole self and loving others as you love yourself is a really big deal. And it can be very intimidating because it is so much more than what most of us do most of our lives. It is so much more than what most people do throughout their lives. Because fulfilling your God-given purpose isn't actually about you, it's about God and what he wants to do through your life. And the thing that you need to understand is that, yes, it is big, yes, it is intimidating, but it is so good. And it's not something that has to start after you graduate high school. It doesn't start after you get your life figured out. It doesn't start after you get that degree or the diploma or the career that you are seeking after. It's starts right now. The moment you say yes to the invitation that Jesus has been offering you, for you to follow him and to be a part of his good plans to change the world.

So how do you find and how do you fulfill your God-given purpose? Well, in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 1 the Apostle Paul writes this. He says that, "I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, I beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. You have been called by God". This entire series we've been talking about what that means. What is your calling? How do you find it and how do you live it? Now, as a quick reminder of what we've talked about so far, your calling is so much more than just what you do. Your calling consists of your identity. That's who you are. It consists of your purpose, the things that God has created you to do, and your assignment, how you actually do it.

In week one of the series, we talked about our identity, and we learned that finding our calling starts with knowing who God is, and it means trusting who he says you are. That was week one when we talked about our identity. Week two, we leaned into our God-given purpose. And this is what we learned, that your purpose as a human being made in the image of God, no matter where you are, your purpose is to love God with your whole self and love your neighbor as yourself. Your calling. It consists of your identity, your purpose, and your assignment. That's what we've talked about in the previous weeks. The first two parts. This week, we're closing it all out by talking about the third element, your assignment, the how you fulfill your God given purpose.

And so to help us figure out what the best assignment is for us, how we can live out our identity as God's people, how we can fulfill our purpose of loving him and loving others, we're gonna answer four big questions. Those four questions are these. Question number one, what are your spiritual gifts? Question number two, what brings you joy? Question number three, what breaks your heart? And question number four, what does the world need? What are your spiritual gifts? What brings you joy? What breaks your heart? And what does the world need? Starting with question number one, we're gonna talk about your spiritual gifts. Because like we talked about in week one, if you were there, our identity is found in the fullness of who God is.

And God is the Holy Spirit and we are his dwelling place. That means that when you put your faith in Jesus, when you decide to follow him, the Holy Spirit, God in the Spirit fills you and gives you the power to do things that you could not do on your own. This comes in the form of what the Bible calls spiritual gifts. Ephesians chapter 4, verse 7, this is later on in the same passage of scripture that we read earlier. Paul says that God "has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ". Every single one of us, when we say yes to following Jesus, are filled by the Spirit of God and he gives us a gift that we are meant to use for the good of others. And there's lots of different places in the Bible where you can read different lists of the spiritual gifts.

Paul talks about it, the Apostle Peter talks about it. But each of these places gives a list of some of the gifts, but not all of the gifts. And what you need to understand is that you, you have a gift that God has given you to help other people. Now, you might be wondering, "Okay, cool, but how do I know what it is"? Well, my advice to you would be to first ask God to show you. Second, ask the people around you what that thing is that they see in you. Third, I would recommend that you just look up the different lists of spiritual gifts that you can find in the Bible, and prayerfully and slowly read over those lists to see if there's any of those that jump out to you. And then the fourth recommendation that I would say is for you to actually take a spiritual gifts test.

There's a number of these online that actually help you identify what those gifts are for you so you can know it and you can begin to grow in that gifting, so you can use the special things God has placed inside of you to love him and to love others. Because every single one of us, we have all been called by God, and every single one of us have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit that are meant to be used for the good of others. I remember when I first became a Christian, I knew pretty early on that I had been given the spiritual gift of leadership. And so any chance I got to lead people, I was all about it. And for the most part, don't get me wrong, I definitely made a bunch of mistakes, but for the most part, things tended to go pretty well.

Like I was just pretty good at leading people and I learned how to get better and I was so excited to do so. And it started with me as a volunteer small group leader when I first started serving at Life Church. And then I went into my internship, eventually becoming a youth pastor on staff. And even now I get to lead large numbers of people closer to Jesus because of the gifting that God has given me. Now, my wife Mandy has different spiritual gifts than I have, but God is using her gifts in really special ways to help people that are dealing with complex chronic health issues find healing, find strength, and have their health, their physical health restored. Her gifts are different, but she's using them as a way for her to love God and love others. You have spiritual gifts.

So take the test, figure out what that might look like for you. That's the first thing we do to find our assignment. We look into our spiritual gifts. The second question that we've gotta ask ourselves is, what brings you joy? What brings you joy? Because oftentimes the things that get you excited, that you are up late at night thinking about and dreaming about, the things that you wake up in the morning and you can't wait to be a part of. Oftentimes that's an indicator of how God has uniquely wired you to make a difference. Like if you just get so excited to help your friends that are struggling in school with their homework, that may be an indicator that God wants you to become a mentor, a tutor, or a teacher.

If the thing that you get so excited about is just working ridiculously hard and setting the example for your teammates of what it looks like to bring your best every single day, then maybe that's what God wants you to do, to look for other ways that, by your example, you can set a standard that inspires others. If the thing that brings you joy is just listening to your friends or your family members who are going through a hard time and just being there with them in the mess, if that fills you up, then that could be an indicator of how God has wired you in the ways that he wants you to serve him and serve others.

What brings you joy? One of the things that brings me joy is teaching people things about the Bible. Like I love it when people have that light go on where they see something in scripture that they've never seen before, and it makes sense for them just how brilliant the entirety of the Bible is. Or they see this thing that used to create questions, and now they're seeing it point to Jesus and showing them how they're meant to live as one of his followers. I love that stuff. So when I'm in a small group in loop with some fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, when I'm leading my small group on a Wednesday night with my eighth graders, when I'm standing here on the stage preaching messages to you, I love getting to help people see just how good God is and how he has revealed himself to us through the Bible.

So what brings you joy? What are the things that light you up inside that you can't get enough of? Those things might be indicators of how God wants to use you to make a difference. So if you wanna find your assignment, you gotta answer four questions. The first question we talked about is, what are your spiritual gifts? The second question is, what brings you joy? And the third question is, what breaks your heart? What breaks your heart? We live in a world that is very fallen and very broken, where there's lots of people that are hurting and struggling. And if you have a pulse and you have a conscience, there are probably things that you see that your response to those things is, "This should not be". It breaks your heart and it breaks the heart of God.

Like Jesus was no stranger to being brokenhearted over the brokenness of the world. When he saw the spiritual abuse that was taking place in his day, he did not hold back. He cleared the temple. He called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees because he knew that that was wrong and he was committed to doing something about it. Maybe for you it's the injustice of human trafficking, this global epidemic of modern-day slavery. And that's why every year in the spring, when we do Switch Fights Human Trafficking, you are stoked because that thing breaks your heart and you are committed to not just whining about it, but actually making a difference.

Maybe the thing that breaks your heart is knowing that there are kids your age that are being bullied to the point where they're questioning if they want to live anymore. Maybe the thing that breaks your heart is seeing people struggle because of all of the hardship going on in their homes, with the parent marriage that's falling apart, because you know how hard that was for you and you hate seeing other people go through that same pain. What breaks your heart? We may not realize it, but oftentimes the things that break our hearts are an indicator of a problem in the world that God wants us to be a part of solving. For me, there is nothing that breaks my heart more than seeing young people like you who, because of the way you've thought about or even been taught about the gospel, you just don't see it as good news. Because you've seen the hypocrisy of Christians, you've seen how judgmental they can be, and it just makes you not wanna have anything to do with Jesus or his church.

That's what breaks my heart. Because throughout my teenage years, I didn't want to have anything to do with Jesus and his church because I had seen so many examples of Christians who said one thing, but lived something very, very different. And it was that thing, that pain that I felt for others that has helped shape me into the person I am today. Like so passionate about following Jesus faithfully in everything I do. My wife and I, we were recently having a conversation about our family's value. We got one of them, is we wanna be Christian all the time, everywhere, with everyone. That's what we wanna do. We don't wanna just be Christian some of the times, like when we show up to church or a small group or whatever that thing is, but everywhere, all the time, with everyone, we wanna follow Jesus faithfully and we wanna be helpful to people who are hurting because that's what Jesus has done for us.

So what breaks your heart? The thing that breaks your heart probably breaks the heart of God, and it is a strong possibility that he wants you to do something to fix it. So how do you find the best assignment for you? Question number one you answer, what are your spiritual gifts? Question number two, you figure out what it is that brings you joy. Question number three, you look for the things that break your heart. And question number four, you pay attention to what the world needs. You pay attention to what the world needs. Because your God-given purpose is so much bigger than just what you want to do or what makes you feel good. It is about helping other people to love God and to love others. It's about you following the example of Jesus wherever he leads.

And sometimes it'll be to a place that is awesome and tons of fun, and other times it'll be to places that are so messed up that the only reason you're there is because you know that God called you there and that the people there need what you have to offer. What are your spiritual gifts? What brings you joy? What breaks your heart? And what does the world need? What I wanna do is I wanna show you this image. It's kind of like a graphic to symbolize how all of these things play together. Because your calling consists of your identity, your purpose, and your assignment. Your purpose, to love God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself.

Your identity, a child of the Father, follower of the Son, and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Those things form the boundaries of the circle, and anything you do that aligns with your identity, that fulfills that purpose, is a worthy choice for your assignment. Anything within the boundaries of your circle is a good choice for your assignment. But if you wanna find the best thing or better things, then that's where those four questions come in. You look at people's needs, you look at the pains, you look at your spiritual gifts, you look at the things that you're passionate about, and all of those help you focus in on an assignment that you're not just good at, but you also enjoy doing.

Now, this is really, really important. Anything within the circle is a worthwhile assignment. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul says this in Colossians chapter 3, verse 23. He says, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people". He's saying, "Whatever you do, do it for God and he will use it". This is why that matters, because for so many of us, we hear the stuff about identity, we hear the stuff about purpose, and we nod our heads like, "Yeah, that's important, but I wanna talk about this thing. Like what should I do after high school? Should I marry this person or that person? Should I go into the ministry field at a church or should I go into the ministry field in the marketplace? Should I be a missionary overseas or should I do this"?

And we get so focused on the assignment that we actually become paralyzed, because we're so afraid of making what we think is the wrong choice that we don't choose anything at all. And instead of actually participating in what God wants us to do, we just sit on the sidelines and watch everybody else experience the joy of being used by God. That's why it's important to remember that as long as you are living into your identity as a follower of Jesus, as long as you're fulfilling your purpose, doing your best to love God and love others, then this statement right here is true, that God will use whatever you do for good when you do it for him. Because when it comes to your calling, it is so much more than just the things we do, the job we have, whether we get married to that person or this person, whether we get married at all, where we live after we graduate, or if we stay home.

What matters more than anything to God is that we trust who he says we are, that we do our best to love him with all that we are and love others the same way that God has loved us. And then the assignment, it matters, absolutely. And we want you to choose an assignment that you can be effective in and that you can enjoy doing. But the truth is, is that you will often choose things that later down the road you realize aren't going to be the thing you do for the rest of your life. That the right assignment for you might be right for a period of your life, but it may not be right for your entire life. And that's absolutely okay. You may end up choosing an assignment that you later regret, and the only way that time is wasted is if you choose not to learn from it.

If you choose not to allow God to use that time in your life, to make you into the kind of person who loves him with your whole self and who loves others as yourself. God has called you to do something incredible. He's calling you to join him in the work that he's doing of leading other people to him, of bringing justice where there is injustice. You have been called by God, so lead a life worthy of the calling that you have been given. So now what? Like what do you do with all of that, right? Because I'm doing the best I can to give you this big-picture overview to identify your calling, but what's your next step? What I'll do is give you four things, that if you do these things, they will lead you in the direction of a good assignment.

First, you trust who God says you are. Second, you commit to love him with your whole self and love your neighbor as yourself. Third, you answer the four questions that we talked about today to help you clarify the best assignment for this chapter of your life. And then fourth, whatever you do, you choose to be faithful to Jesus and helpful to people. Because at the end of the day, that's the thing that God cares the most about.

Ephesians chapter 4, verse 16. "He," God, "makes the whole body," all of us as believers. He makes all of us "fit together perfectly. And as each part does its own special work," as each one of us does our own special work, God makes it work together. "It helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body," all of us as God's people, "are healthy, we are growing and we are full of love". You have been called by God, not because of anything you did to earn it, but because of His grace, because he loves you, because he cares about the details of your life and he wants you to experience the joy of partnering with him in his good plans for the world. You have been called by God, so lead a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Heavenly Father, we thank you so much that you love us enough to choose us, to save us, to make us who we're meant to be and guide us in the path that you want us to walk. I pray that every single one of us, as we are hearing these words straight from you, inspired by the Holy Spirit, written in Scripture, that we would trust who you say you are, that we would commit to follow you wherever we lead, and that, God, we would have the confidence to choose to pursue you even if we're not sure if it's the right thing or the best thing, we're choosing to trust you for the next thing because we know that you're gonna use all of it for good and that you will use all that we do for you for good. So give us the wisdom to follow you wherever you lead. Give us the courage to step out in faith and use us to make a difference. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen, amen.

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