College students are making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Over the past few months I’ve had countless conversations with students in VI about how to live in line with God’s calling for their life. What I’ve seen with many people is that there is always a contender to their calling. Comfort, success, acceptance, status, and wealth are a few of things that always seem contend with living through the gospel.
Paul lays out in Philippians 3 the reason of our calling, the purpose of our calling, and the contenders of our calling.
Reasons for our calling
- The glory of Jesus Christ (3:3)
- Jesus has saved us and made us his own (3:12)
- Because we rejoice in the Lord and everything he has done for us through his Son (3:1)
- All is rubbish compare to knowing Christ (3:8)
- There are people who don’t know Christ (3:2-3, 17-19)
- God is on mission through us (1:6, 2:13)
Purpose of our calling
- So that we may have joy and rejoice in Jesus (3:1)
- God uses us because there are people who don’t know Christ, who are religious, and who have walked away from their faith (3:2-3, 17-19)
- So that we may continue the work God has started in us (1:6)
- So that God is able to work through us (2:13)
- So what we can continue the work God has started in the Church (3:17)
Contenders to our calling
Religion (3:2-7). Paul states all of his religious credentials and says that it all doesn’t matter because Jesus is greater then anything we could ever do. Jesus is our justification, not our own works. Paul also instructs us to stay away from the religious leaders (3:2) who are teaching justification by works.
The reason why religion is a contender to the gospel is because it brings the focus on you instead of on Christ. Your works. Your success. Your glory. When religious people have success the glory is theirs, they become prideful, and they feel a sense of entitlement. When religious people fail they feel guilt and shame. Either way, it does not lead to Jesus.
The religious person believes their calling is to be a good person and manage their sin. They try to do this on their own without Christ.
Anything that you value above loving and serving Christ (3:7). I spent the last weekend up at Men’s Retreat. One of the ongoing conversations with the guys throughout the weekend was, “what is contending with the calling of Christ?” One of the main contender for most of us was our own comfort. The reality is that you will constantly be making choices to live in line with your calling our in line with your comfort. Other contenders were personal success, wealth, status, and acceptance.
Do I live missionally out of a joy for Christ, or a feeling of obligation?
Do I believe that God has began a work in me?
Do I believe that He is the one working through me, or am I just trying to do work for him?
What is my main contender to living out the gospel? Why? What does it give me?