Everyone loves the quote: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” It’s comforting, right? But who likes waiting? What, no hands up? I don’t like it either. But equipping takes time. God often calls and then crafts us over time in preparation to serve Him. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Paul stand out as prominent examples.
Doubt in your ability to fulfill your call often accompanies the Holy Spirit’s nudging. How will God prepare you? How do you make yourself ready? Scripture provides a pattern through Paul.
In a heavenly vision, Jesus proclaimed a call on Paul’s life—missionary to the Gentiles. Whoa! This was WAY out of Paul’s comfort zone. He was called to serve cross-culturally to people with whom he felt he could not relate. Jesus put Paul through several tests equipping him to fully step into this monumental call to ministry. Maybe you can relate to some of these.
- The test of waiting
Paul waited at least ten years after Jesus’ first appearance before he began ministering to the Gentiles in Antioch. Eventually Barnabas arrived to bring him into that predominantly Gentile church. While we do not know all the details of what Paul did during that decade, we do know God did not waste that time of waiting. Paul readily stepped into the Antiochan church prepared for the mission field. Magnificent ministry happened. If you are in a season of waiting friend, God is crafting you for His call as well.
- The test of spiritual opposition
After Paul spent a year of preparation—teaching at the church in Antioch alongside Barnabas, both men embarked upon their first missionary journey. God allowed these men to bond in service together in a thriving church before sending them out to face opposition on missionary soil. Their first test of opposition came from the forces of darkness in Cyprus. Grow your roots down deep before asking God to send you to graft the gospel into new soil through your writing and speaking.
- The test of emotional opposition
After leaving Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium where their motives were questioned, and their character slandered. When we step into the fullness of our calling others will downplay, distract, and discredit us. Some might even desecrate us emotionally. God calls His servants to lean on Him emotionally in the lonely place of living out one’s calling. Bring your emotional hurts to God for healing, which will enable you to serve with pure motives and clear vision.
- The test of praise
After leaving Iconium, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Lystra where they were worshipped as gods in response to a miracle. When God begins to do the unexplainable among and through us, people will start to praise the messenger over the Miracle Working God. Will we pass the test and humbly point them to Jesus or begin to think we are something special? Nothing collapses a calling like pride. Our hearts endure the greatest test in the crucible of praise.
- The test of release
When Paul and Barnabas finished their missionary journey, they returned home to Antioch. Undoubtedly, they wondered how their fledging churches would fair in their absence. It would be tempting to stay and continue to disciple each church for longer periods, yet they both knew they were called to spread the gospel to new lands. This meant letting go and letting God.
Sometimes in our calling we can fall into the trap of thinking we’re needed—as if God’s kingdom plans rest solely on our ability or involvement. Then we lose focus on what God has called us to do. Is there something you need to let go of to fully embrace God’s call upon your life?
Whether you feel as though you are walking in your calling or waiting for it to be fulfilled, God calls us to intentionally prepare ourselves for what’s ahead. Passing these tests will never be easy, but just as Paul and Barnabas had the support of one another and the church at large, you and I are not meant to step into nor walk out our calling alone. We are inextricably tied to the unexplainable Church and we’re all in this together. Speak Up provides the opportunity for coaching, accountability, encouragement, and growth. Connection helps catalyze your calling because God uses His people to grow and prepare you!
Questions: What test are you currently undergoing? What steps are you intentionally taking to pass it well?
About Erica Wiggenhorn
Founder of Every Life Ministries, Erica longs to bring the truth of Scripture to transform your life. An award-winning author with Moody Publishers, Erica loves to share the Word of God wherever she can! Her latest release is An Unexpected Revival: Experiencing God’s Goodness Through Disappointment and Doubt, an 8-week Bible study through the prophecies of Ezekiel. She’s a frequent speaker at women’s retreats, large conferences, or at her own kitchen table, you can find her almost every day on Instagram where shares Phoenix life with her best friend Jonathan, and their four children—two of which are human and the others furry and adorable. You can find out more about Erica’s ministry at https://ericawiggenhorn.com/.