Someone recently suggested I write about what it looks like in daily practice to live faithfully in Christ. My response was, “I would, but faithfulness to Jesus can be expressed in about three million different ways, and I’m skeptical I could find the time to describe each and every one!” Don’t get me wrong—there are elements of Christian obedience that characterize every believer’s life. A faithful pursuit of Jesus should always involve ongoing repentance, drawing near to God by means of prayer and meditation on his Word, and being connected to a local community of faith. However, as Paul once pointed out (1 Corinthians 7:17), God has placed a unique calling on every believer’s life, and the fleshing out of one person’s calling will look quite different from another’s.
Ben, a friend of mine, is a chemical engineer, a husband, and a father. The Lord currently calls Ben to demonstrate his love for Christ by performing his engineering duties with excellence, loving his wife like Jesus loves the church, and demonstrating the character of God to his children. Katie, another friend of mine, is currently the wife of a church planter and a stay-at-home mom of toddlers. The Lord presently calls Katie to make much of Jesus by serving alongside her husband in his ministry and raising her children in such a way that they will know who God is and, by his grace, one day respond to the gospel in faith. My friend Logan is a single, twenty-eight year old barista at Starbucks who is finishing up his master’s in Christian counseling. At this point in his life, the Lord calls Logan to be a light for Christ among his coworkers and to be diligent in his studies so that, in the near future, he can effectively counsel those whose lives have been ransacked by the brokenness of this world.
I have not comprehensively detailed God’s callings on the lives of Ben, Katie, and Logan. Yet you can see, even from this limited description, the daily expressions of their faith in Christ look almost nothing alike. Yes—they each embrace repentance, belong to a local church, and regularly fellowship with God. And yes—each of their different-looking lives is fueled by a common faith, hope, and love. But their practical obedience fleshes out in a unique way as they each endeavor to live faithfully within the particular roles to which God has called them.
However, some of us do not have roles that are as clearly defined as Ben’s, Katie’s, and Logan’s. I, for example, am not a father, husband, or student—nor do I have a regular 9-5 job. Back when I worked in the fitness industry, I understood God had called me to perform my job duties to the best of my ability and minister the gospel to my personal training clients. But now, as a full-time writer, things aren’t as clear-cut. Though I know I am to strive to produce quality content that makes much of Christ and benefits my readers, it was difficult when I transitioned into this new vocation to determine what God’s calling on my life was beyond the keyboard. My work is not relational in nature, and my life outside of work is void of defined roles.
I soon realized, though, that God has given me two precious gifts in my new lifestyle: time and freedom. The flexibility of my self-employed schedule combined with my freedom from marital and parental responsibilities enables me to labor in the work of the Kingdom in ways that many believers are unable because of their time-consuming callings. I am, as Paul once wrote, able to “secure [my] undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35).
Practically, this has looked like setting up for services every Sunday, participating in multiple Bible studies, designating multiple evenings a week to spend time with other believers or unbelieving friends I am trying to win to Christ, cooking lunch for and befriending the homeless in my community, helping my pastor with miscellaneous things, and more. It has taken some thought, creativity, and exploration of my gifting, but I have been able to discover my calling in this season of life despite not having it clearly defined for me by particular roles or circumstances.
If you are someone who doesn’t have clearly defined roles by which you can decipher God’s present calling on your life, and if you have been blessed with the gifts of time and freedom, my advice to you is twofold. Firstly, don’t try to mimic someone else’s calling. Discover your own. Secondly, it will most likely be in the context of your local community of faith that you unearth your calling. Inquire about the needs of your church and how you can serve to meet them. Ask your pastors or leaders to help you determine your gifts and discover in what capacities you are most effective for the work of the Kingdom. A wide-open life that lacks clearly defined roles is not some affliction over which you should despair; it is an incredible blessing that, if utilized, will allow you to labor heartily for the Kingdom in unique and impactful ways.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17