Called by God: what does it mean?

It’s always personal, usually rather private and I never really doubt it if God is telling me something. He doesn’t tell me things straight out very often, and when He does, it doesn’t occur to me to ask him for ID, or suggest other things I would prefer to do. He’s God, I’m not, so I shut up, and do it.

Yes, I understand that this is functionally identical to psychotic delusion. That doesn’t trouble me, I used to have those, I can tell the difference now. You see, psychotic delusion comes from your own mind, and has your own desires at its heart. I won’t claim to have eliminated that from every aspect of my behavior, but I have learned not to blame God for my failings.


Just out of curiosity, is there anything he could say that you would refuse to do?

The reason I wonder (and this may seem offensive, but it’s a real question, honest :slight_smile: ), is that some people hear God telling them to, say, kill somebody. Without trying to put words in your mouth here, I guess you would think that’s not really God telling them that, but even if it’s not, these people often beleive it is and do as they’re told.

I also guess you’ve never heard anything remotely similar, but just as thought experiment, is there some line you’d personally draw?

peas on earth

**bantmof ** asked

I would draw the line at the point that I felt that God had told me something “out of character” from what I have known of Him. I would do so out of suspicion of my own human greed, lust, envy, hatred, and pride. I would doubt my revelation, not my God. Every bit of my own personal knowledge of God is filled with love of a quality and magnitude so far beyond my own pitiful human love that it makes me weep with joy. If I “heard” him say go forth and kill all the homosexuals, I would doubt myself. I would believe that I was putting my desire forward as if it were His.

I might be beyond that doubt, lost in madness. I might commit great sin, as a consequence. I have lived a life far short of the example of my Lord, and know well that no one should follow my poor example. I will not make the mistake of following my desire into hatred. The “thought experiment” of whether I would slay my son upon an altar to satisfy a Test of Faith from God Himself is answered already. I need not fear that he would send me out to do evil, though I must guard well against the far greater chance that I might go out and do great evil in His name, for my own aggrandizement. Love is always part of the answer. Look for it.

I see that I have not answered your question. I am sorry, but I think I have no answer, because I have no fear that this would come from God. If I were to become a madman, and go out and try to create a political party to make myself powerful, by claiming divine right to rule others, the madness would be mine, and I think most people would recognize as such.


Wow - what a series of lively posts! And to think that, yesterday afternoon, I was thinking this thread wasn’t going anywhere.

Jodi - I’ve had a few things happen to me similar to what happened to you with your sister. I was going to say, ‘well, that’s different,’ but on reflection, I’m less sure. The main difference is the duration of the response - a single action v. an ongoing course of action, and that may be a more important distinction to us than to Him.

Durno - I’ve also ignored callings, due to verious degrees of inertia and timidity. The malaise that settled over my life is difficult to describe - when you know which way you’re supposed to be going, but (due to whatever internal reasons) not going thataway, and you’re trying to convince yourself that everything’s fine anyway…I hope I never put myself through that again.

Tris and bantmof - I think a healthy skepticism has a real place in Christianity in general, and in verifying callings in particular. ‘Test the spirits,’ says 1 John 4:1, and for good reason. There have been occasions on which I thought I was being called to a particular course of action, but it was a lot less clear, after a few days’ reflection, what I was being called to, or whether I was called to anything at all. I think one sign of a genuine calling is its refusal to fade; things that I thought were callings but weren’t have tended to fade like the recollection of a dream. (Maybe that’s a bad analogy, since some people remember dreams pretty well. Not me.)

While this really hasn’t applied to anything I thought was a calling, bantmof, anything that contradicted what I know of God - that He loves all of His creation, and doesn’t desire harm to come to any of us - would set off the alarm bells in my head. If I felt called to do harm to another, or even to rant in their faces, I hope I’d call up the local loony-bin and book a room.

Phaedrus - I’d have to say that the idea of moments when God clearly directs us to a specific course of action seems to continually re-originate in the fact that beleivers keep on having experiences that they believe are God’s direction. I’m sure Jodi, Tris, Durno, and I have grown up with, and/or developed, very different theologies, yet we seem to be describing similar phenomena, so far.

With respect to the Scripturality, or lack thereof, Paul makes numerous references to Christ and/or the Spirit taking up residence in our hearts; nothing says the Spirit is mute. That’s the best I can do on that, but it seems sufficient to me.

Well, real life calls. It’s a Saturday, and a ‘honey-do’ list awaits. Enjoy your day, everyone!

This is sort of gross, but nevertheless:

call•ing "ko-ling\ noun (14c)
1 : a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action esp. when accompanied by conviction of divine influence
2 : the vocation or profession in which one customarily engages
3 : the characteristic cry of a female cat in heat; also : the period of heat syn see work

©1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

From handy’s dictionary definition:

Perhaps Ayesha could contribute something of pertinence here.

Actually I think your answer was pretty good. Sounds like you wouldn’t just leap into doing something that seemed overly “out of character” for God to say.

I wish everybody looked at it that way!

peas on earth