I am geting ready to speak this weekend at a crazy worship experience call "awakening my city" in south Nashville, TN.
As i have been seeking the Lord about what to share, I have been spending time with the leadership of this movement which consists of mostly passionate Jesus disciples in their 20's. I have the good fortune of spending other time with this group, so they know me, and I know them fairly well which creates plenty of trust in our discussions.
The topic that has arisen out of these discussions is the tension for a young believer between Calling & Character. As I dive into this thought, let me pre-load your brain with two viewpoints to remember as you enter in.
First, we all have a background, faith driven or not, spirit led or not, poor, wealthy, old, young, all of these items will effect they way you consider the tension we are talking about. So be honest about where you come from it will help the discussion.
Second, I have yet to find anyone who has arrived in this discussion. In fact, as you are going to see in a moment, even as I prepare to speak about this biblically on Saturday night, I desire to have enough strength to be honest with those I share with that I too am still tangling with this tension. Quoting one of my modern day hero's Andy Stanley, "I believe the tension is good." (Catalyst Leadership 2010)
For time's sake, let me make the case that I think for the follower of Christ, 'Calling should be assumed.' To bring clarity to that statement. If we are truly born again believers filled with the spirit of Jesus inside of us, then our Calling is the same as Jesus. To bring life and life to the fullest to the world around us. (John 10)
Let's assume that every time we tell people that God is in control and knows what He is doing that we believe it. Then we consider all the broken-ness around us, how could that be? I believe this falls under Calling. We are called to speak life, bring life, act as Jesus would act towards all mankind especially in it's mess.
With that said, I know of a thousand times that my experience did not match my Calling. This failure or lack of living out Calling is found in my Character. Character is a place where I do what I say I am going to do, and act as I say I believe. The problem for me is that Character depends so much on me. Right? Or does it?
I want to suggest to us that Character is found in the same place that Calling is; "in surrender of our lives to the Spirit of Jesus.' No doubt I will daily battle my desire to find Character in who "I" am. Paul speaks often about his personal battles against the flesh (Romans 7). However despite that letter, Paul admits with the same pen "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2)
For the follower of Christ then, both Calling & Character are found in daily life in Christ. Calling is no longer in question, it is my reality. Character is no longer a list of to do's it is the gracious gift of overflow and how I live my life. I am called to be a worshipper of Jesus, it is a gift to make time each day to worship him. I am called to speak life over others, it is a blessing to speak the words of Jesus over them in conversation. Both are found in Christ!
So where is the tension? In fact if we are submitting both to Christ daily then there is no tension between the two. Since I have yet to arrive in my complete submission to Christ daily and would guess most of you are the same, the tension will exist.
Calling & Character, in Christ you have the right to both! Now go live Full!
By the way, want to join us Saturday night? Here are the Awakening Details:
Awakening My City