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Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. --Romans 1:1
In this first verse of Romans, Paul declares the two-fold aspect of ministry: calling and separation. Because the New Testament tells us that Paul and the other apostles are our examples, if we can understand Paul's calling and separation into the ministry, then we can understand our own. The apostles were no better than we are, nor did they operate by a different set of rules than we do today. In 2 Thessalonians 3:9, Paul said that he had made himself an example for us to follow. Although we may not stand in the offices that he stood in, the keys that made him a successful minister are the same keys that will make us successful ministers.
"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace. (Galatians 1:15)
This verse says that both our calling and our separation are by the grace of God. Obviously, if they were given to Paul while he was in his mother's womb, how could he work for, earn, or deserve them? Ephesians 1:3-14 says that God had a plan for your life from before the foundation of the world. You are so special that He mapped out a course for your life before you ever existed. Therefore, you can see that both your calling and separation are given by grace, because you weren't around before the foundation of the world to do anything to earn them!
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
'But unto every [each] one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7)
WHAT IS A "CALLING"?
Paul was "called" to be an apostle (Romans 1: 1), and the Greek word for called comes from the root word kaleo, which means to call aloud, to summon, or call toward. If you have been born again, you have a calling, because a calling is simply the will of God for your life. It is the work God wants you to accomplish during the time you are on earth. Every believer has a calling on his or her life, but whether or not that calling is fulfilled depends on several factors. First, we must recognize God's call, and then, each of us must accept His personalized call to us as a unique individual. To recognize the calling, or to know the will of God for your life, you begin with prayer. Ask God to show you the purpose and plan for your life. When you know your calling, one of the most important prayers you pray in the Christian life is the prayer of consecration and dedication. This is when you open your heart to God and become willing to do whatever He asks.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. (Ephesians 4:1)
This verse refers to our calling as our "vocation." Just as there are natural vocations such as carpenters, businessmen, salesmen, or school teachers, there are spiritual vocations. When we are born again, our spiritual vocation may or may not be compatible with our natural vocation. For instance, some believers are called to work at an office, factory, or school and to be witnesses through these vocations. But others are called to leave a natural vocation because their spiritual vocation is a full-time position, such as pastor, evangelist, or missionary. Whether we are called to be witnesses in a natural vocation or are called to full-time ministry, we can only have the supernatural peace of God when we accept His will for our lives and stop trying to force our will on Him. We can never be happy by putting ourselves into a ministry or a natural vocation by our own will. But when we seek and accept our calling from God, then our lives become fuller and richer than we ever dreamed possible.