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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

How to Discern God's Calling in Your Life

Updated: Aug 17

Here's a post to help you discern God's calling in your life. It can be determined by walking in faith and answering nine simple questions. Each of the questions relates to the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Walk by Faith wood sign
God's Calling: Walk by Faith

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "What is God's calling in my life?" I certainly have in both professional and personal aspects of my life.

I look back over the decades and come to a stunning realization...when I was walking in faith, God's calling found me. When I was walking in the "world," I may have found success and treasures, but they were fleeting and hollow.

God's calling(s) are simple, challenging, and meaningful; the world makes life overly complex, full of stress, and anxiety, with quick and easy "fixes" that dull the mind and numb the senses.

I've lived both lives. Here's the one I recommend for discerning God's Calling in our life.

God's Calling: Walk By Faith

I should have mentioned ten questions because God seems to ask this as a pre-condition to the other nine (the nine Fruit of the Spirit): Are you walking in faith? The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:7,

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

We can't always discern what God calls us to do from worldly appearances or well-intended advice from others. This is true even concerning brothers and sisters in the faith. The world and Satan always tell us what to do that feels good and carries eternal consequences. Listen to the voices of all and then, by faith, ask for Divine Discernment. I believe that alignment and submission to our Heavenly Father answers the question about our walking in faith. Without faith, why ask God?

So, if we walk in faith, let's answer the questions.

1. Does your calling generate LOVE?

2. Do You Experience JOY as a Result of the Call?

3. Does the Call lead to PEACE for you and others?

4. Does the call require PATIENCE?

5. Is KINDNESS expected with your calling?

6. Does GOODNESS characterize your calling?

7. Is FAITH assumed with your calling?

8. Do you need to show GENTLENESS with your call?

9. Is SELF-CONTROL required for your calling?

We can be assured that in order for your calling to be God's Calling, it must involve each aspect of the nine Fruits of the Spirit because, as stated by the Apostle Paul,

"against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5: 22-23).

If any one of the Fruit of the Spirit is omitted or changed, I would question if it's truly God's calling in your life. Why would God call you (or me) to do something that may go against His Law? He wouldn't.

And, for our purposes here, let's agree that God's Calling in your life includes all aspects (personal, professional, etc.). The world likes to compartmentalize us as if we can live one way personally and another way professionally. I doubt that God agrees.

A couple of final assumptions for our purposes:

1. I assume that God's Calling on your life can change or may not. We have free will, AND He is sovereign. Going back to review the questions will answer many questions about His Will and your preferences.

2. God's calling in your life will produce good fruit for you and others. Although we understand that challenges come with carrying the cross, you can also expect a sense of meaning and purpose when you follow God's call.

God's Calling: Does Your Calling Generate Love?

Think about what you are doing right now. Are you experiencing it with love for the Lord, others, and yourself? If so, I believe it meets Jesus's greatest commandment (see Mark 12:29-31). Since Jesus states that

"there is no greater commandment than these,"

love must be the fullest expression of God's calling in your life.

On a personal level, God's calling typically results in doing something you love doing. It may be your primary occupation, but it could also be a hobby, ministry, or the myriad other activities that make up your life. The point is, are you feeling God's love, and are you sharing it with others? If yes, it's God's calling in your life.

God's Calling: Do You Experience JOY as a Result of the Call?

Proverbs 10:28 says,

"The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing."

Joy appears to be a by-product of answering God's call in your life. Many believe they are too stained with sin for God to call them to engage in His work. Remember, we are still reading in the Bible about some of the most wicked people who heard and heeded God's call. You and I are no exception. We can experience joy despite the circumstances if we align with God's call. Thus, joy, in spite of worldly circumstances, is characteristic of following God's call in your life. How much joy have you felt in the last month?

God's Calling: Does the Call lead to PEACE for you and others?

Peace clearly indicates aligning with God's call in your life. You can't buy peace, no matter how much money you have or the letters behind your name. It is priceless. It comes as a gift from Christ, who says,

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).

The inner experience of peace comes to those who follow God's call. But what about God's calling in our lives that involves others? Again, as we walk in faith and read God's Word, we are reminded,

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

God's call in your life will provide opportunities for you to be a peacemaker with others. They may be coworkers, supervisors, spouses / significant others, family members, or complete strangers. How would you describe your "peace life" in 2023? Answering God's call will immediately add peace to your life and those around you.

God's Calling: Does the call require PATIENCE?

I hope your calling doesn't require the patience of a biblical Job or the trials he had to endure to prove his faith; however, every time I felt God's call on my life, patience was required. No wonder I ran toward the world on far too many occasions!

Patience is necessary because God will likely call you out of your comfort zone. It may require new training, skills, and/or relationships. God's call may require a geographic move or a change of occupation. It may demand NO occupation! Side note: Before telling your spouse you are quitting your job, make sure the call is from God. Divorce is frowned upon in scripture. :-)

The point is you may be fully on board with this calling and ready to go, but for some reason, God seems to be slow with making it happen. Perhaps you are even suffering a bit as well. Just remember,

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up" Galatians 6:9

Has God called you to do something that requires patience? Don't give up on it! You can do it! (with God's help).

God's Calling: Is KINDNESS expected with your calling?

Have you ever acted rude, crude, and arrogant? That's a rhetorical question--no need to answer. But I certainly have! And every time I did, I followed the world's calling, not God's. Yes, there were times when I "got away with it" and perhaps even promoted because of it. However, Paul tells us,

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things we have done while in the body, whether good or bad" 2 Corinthians 5:10.

God's calling will never expect us to act rude, crude, or arrogant. Those are characteristics of pride and are inconsistent with the kindness God expects of us. If you are wondering about God's calling, ask yourself if kindness is expected of you toward others.

God's Calling: Does GOODNESS characterize your calling?

Remember what the Psalmist said,

"What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me?" Psalm 109:21

The goodness God shows us is the goodness we should show Him (and others) in return. As we discern God's calling in our life, "goodness" seems to be a good indicator of it.

I realize that goodness is hard to evaluate. It is subjective at best. However, in the stillness of a moonlit night, each of us knows goodness from its opposite. We know when we have been good and when we have been bad.

Don't be fooled when the world tells you there is no inherent "good" or "bad." That these terms are anachronistic value judgments that have no place in an "enlightened" society. Make no mistake, while the world wants to deceive us with shades of moral grey, God sees only the truth. And, as discussed above, the judgment seat isn't a place where we want to defend the world's concept of relativism.

So what's the takeaway? God's calling will expect you to show goodness even when Biblical goodness has fallen out of favor. Are you willing to say "yes" to God's goodness even when the world says it's hateful? It's not always easy to follow God's call.

God's Calling: Is FAITH assumed with your calling?

It's no wonder that faith comes after goodness. When the societal tide reverses, good becomes evil, and evil is good, you may feel conflicted and alone. During these times, it can be easy to lose your faith, to lose the narrow path. The herd of sleepwalkers blindly follow the broad pathway leading them to the abyss. Have faith and do not follow them. Instead,

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

I have found that faith was required in many of God's callings on my life. God's calling has resulted in leaving behind many desirable aspects of the world. It took faith to see me through some very dark valleys. But God's Word reassures us

"And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" 1 Corinthians 10:13.

If you believe God is calling you, and your discernment thus far is supported by evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit, then have faith and persevere. God is with you!

God's Calling: Do you need to show GENTLENESS with your call?

Gentleness can be a challenge, especially for "old school" men who were raised to be tough, not gentle. However, if we see gentleness in light of God's calling in our lives, then it's no longer about being proud of who we are, but humble in who God wants us to be. Then we see the value of gentleness in all relationships as described in Proverbs:

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" Proverbs 15:1

If you wonder whether something in your heart is God's call, answer the question, "Do you need to show gentleness with this call?" If so, listen to that still small voice that comes from the Holy Spirit within you. It will lead you toward your authentic destiny.

God's Calling: Is SELF-CONTROL required for your calling?

I don't know about you, but for me, the first and last questions are the most difficult to answer. Love and self-control are constant struggles. I love too much of the wrong things and lose self-control when I know better.

In fact, I'm convinced that God intentionally calls us to situations where He knows we will fail miserably just because He likes a good laugh. He knows we lack self-control. We know we lack self-control. This is precisely why we aren't immediately given the "desires of our hearts" when we want them. We lack the requisite self-control to actually carry out God's calling in our life. We need more time sitting on the sidelines watching the game. We need more time to practice developing self-control to be effective when God calls us into His game. Again wisdom reminds us,

"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control" Proverbs 25:28

I pray that self-control is one of your strengths; if not, just know that you are not alone on the path to God's calling in your life.

In Conclusion

This post was intended to help you discern God's calling in your life. The "world" will call you to the broad path, the easy path of least resistance. But God's calling will require you to walk by faith and in step with the fruit of the Spirit. Review and answer the nine questions above to determine if your felt calling is from God. Each of the questions relates to the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. For each of these, there is no Law, and it must be God's calling in your life.

May God bless you as you discern His calling in your life!

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About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a veteran and an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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