Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

September 2023 Issue

Trademark Secrets

From the June 2023 Issue

A Perfect Calling

A Perfect Calling

It’s harder to bear grief as we get older, and Samuel was sorely bereaved over the way his king—Saul, whom he had anointed—had fallen into sin and brought disgrace to Israel. “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?” asked the Lord. “Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1).

Notice the word “provided.” Other translations say “selected” or “chosen.” Over in Bethlehem was a teenager named David who showed remarkable promise. He was strong, athletic, musical, smart, diligent, and fearless, but he had only a faint idea what the call of God was on his life.

He who calls us is faithful to go before us, behind us, around us—and to work through us.

Yet he was about to find out. The Lord had given him a unique set of gifts, a number of humble tasks, a godly upbringing, and seven older brothers to harass him and toughen him up.

Nothing about David’s life was accidental. Everything was providential, as it is with all who are called, and that includes you and me. Romans 1:6 says, “You also are the called of Jesus Christ.”

Your Life Bound Up in Your Calling

Those of us devoted to Jesus Christ find our calling within the scope of our relationship with Him where there is great significance, purpose, and destiny. We’re called to be children of the Heavenly Father, servants of the King of kings, and ambassadors for the Gospel. And He who calls us is faithful to go before us, behind us, around us—and to work through us.

David once prayed: “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me…. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well…. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:5, 14, 16).

God’s call on David subdivided into many separate strands. As I said in the last article, David was a son, husband, father, friend, shepherd, musician, warrior, poet, king, theologian, planner, builder, and more. Different parts of his past had prepared him for each of his varied roles. Over time, God gradually equipped him for a perfect calling from his perfect God.

Our accumulating experiences prepare us for tomorrow’s battles.

It's a lesson in how God works in us all. When you see what God wants you to do next, you can turn around and say, “Of course! Everything in my past has prepared me for my next assignment.” Your circumstances might require a relocation, a larger house, a smaller apartment, a new set of friends, a different set of challenges. But in God’s will, every step leads to the next, and they all represent God’s calling for you here and now.

God designed you for what He prepared you to do, and He has placed you strategically in your spot. Your job is to ask that your eyes be opened to know the hope of His calling and the riches of His glory (Ephesians 1:18).

Your Life Prepares You for Your Purpose

God’s calling on our life is what infuses us with purpose. We can look back and see how our earlier experiences—both good and bad—furnished us with the skills needed to fulfill our purpose. In the same way, our current experiences—both good and bad—are preparing us for tomorrow’s opportunities.

God’s perfect call on our imperfect life leads to blessings in His perfect will.

David’s teenage responsibilities as a shepherd gave him leadership skills that trained him to be the king of Israel. Psalm 78 says, “He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people” (verses 70-71). People are remarkably like sheep, and no university could have prepared David for his task like the lonely tradecraft of shepherding.

The Lord gave David just the right mother too. In Psalm 86:16, he prayed, “Save me, because I serve you just as my mother did” (NIV).

Even his place at the end of a line of older brothers gave him the kind of hotshot insolence that Goliath badly underestimated.

Speaking of Goliath, David’s confidence in battle was based on his prior experiences of killing a bear and a lion while protecting the flock. “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” he said in 1 Samuel 17:37.

Prior struggles teach us to trust God, and our faith grows in a way that enables us to rely on Him with today’s problems. Our accumulating experiences prepare us for tomorrow’s battles.

God is in the details when it comes to your life. Everything that happens to you is plowed into the fields of service He assigns to you. He takes all the strands of your experiences, equips you, matures you, and makes sure your most productive days are always ahead. Notice the word “called” in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).

Your Life Will Lead to Impact

Because of that, we can serve the Lord with confidence. He will use your circumstances and situations for good, and He will use you in ways you’ll not even be aware of until you get to heaven and see the results. The Bible says, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

David was enabled by God to unify the Jewish nation, bring spiritual recovery to the land after Saul’s disastrous reign, expand the borders of Israel, defeat the wicked forces on his borders, bring the Ark of God into Jerusalem, establish the city as the permanent political and spiritual capital of the nation, develop worship forms and patterns that are still important to us today, write scores of psalms we’re still studying, and create a lineage leading to the Messiah.

His life mattered.

So does yours. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT). That’s why we must “walk worthy of the calling” we have received (Ephesians 4:1).

Life is not always a clear path to an end. We face twists and turns, straightaways and curves, hills and valleys. But God’s perfect call on our imperfect life leads to blessings in His perfect will, and nothing happens that He doesn’t use for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.

Wayne Stiles in his book Waiting on God wrote, “If we really knew the big picture, we too would want what God wants for us—and in the exact way and timing he wants it to occur.”1

Jonathan Isaac is a professional basketball player whose fearless stand for Christ has created both fans and foes. He grew up with his mother in Naples, Florida, where he had a hard time fitting in with other kids. He found acceptance in sports, “And so that drove me to put every single ounce of time and practice that I could into basketball, into becoming better.” He played college basketball, but he struggled with anxiety. “I always just felt insignificant and always having to work for somebody else’s approval or somebody else’s love.”

When he was selected to play for the Orlando Magic, he was overwhelmed with anxious thoughts. Then a teammate invited him to chapel. The chaplain read from Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?”

Jonathan began to sense God had a calling for him, and he responded by giving his life fully to the will of God through Christ. “God cares about me,” he said in amazement. “That was something that was so big for me because I was so used to working for love, working for acceptance, working for attention.” Now, he realized, “I had nothing to do with all of these coincidences and circumstances, but somebody had to be looking out for me.”2

Our life appears to be filled with coincidences and circumstances out of our control, but we are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).

Take all that your life has been and focus on how God can use it. You are becoming what God has planned in the unfolding of His perfect call.


1 Wayne Stiles, Waiting on God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015).

2 Will Dawson, “NBA Player Stands Tall for His Faith,” CBN.

More from Turning Point Radio