Let’s look at some things that can hinder and keep us from fulfilling our calling. We are running a race and must endure to the end (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7). Our featured verse (Hebrews 12:1) reveals two things that can keep us from finishing our race and must be addressed, i.e., every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.
What might be considered some weights that could keep us from finishing our race? These can be a hindrance when they become more important than following God, e.g., money, security, relationships, etc. Jesus discussed the cost of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62.
Now it happened as they journeyed on the road that someone said to him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57 – 62
Let’s look at these verses more closely and identify the hindrances to fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. Luke 9:57 – 58 deals with security issues, not knowing where we are going to go. Luke 9:59 – 60 deals with money issues. In the Old Testament Jewish tradition, the eldest son buried his father or lost their double portion inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). And Luke 9:61 – 62 refers to relationships. Sometimes we don’t leave because we want to stay close to our family (Luke 14:25-26).
When we sin, we miss the mark. Sin is missing the divine standard that God has set up, breaking His law (Romans 3:23; James 4:17). There can be sins of omission as well as commission. There is an aspect of missing the proper goal, hitting the wrong target, going astray, and trespass by putting our own will against God’s (Isaiah 53:6; Ephesians 2:1). Jesus is the only One who was perfect and has never sinned. Therefore when we receive Jesus as our Savior, we receive forgiveness of sin and His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21).
The sin that easily entangles us can be addictions or weaknesses of our flesh, i.e., overeating, gambling, drunkenness, sexual immorality, pornography, disobedience, rebellion, etc. We must identify the weights, sin, and entanglements that hold us back from fulfilling our calling. Spend time with the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin or weights. Humble yourself and repent. God will flood you with His grace (James 4:6 – 10; 1 Peter 5:5 – 10; 1 John 1:9).
What and who are you putting first? What is important to Him or you? Therefore, we must count the cost (Luke 14:27-33). Few laborers in the kingdom will pay the price to position themselves to fulfill their specific calling (Matthew 20:16; 22:14).
Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2
Other things will also hinder us from moving forward into the calling that God has for our lives, i.e., not trusting God and not following the leading of the Holy Spirit, not submitting to God’s process, and getting ahead of God to birth things in the flesh.
We must learn to walk by faith, to trust God and His love for us (2 Corinthians 5:7; Proverbs 3:5-6). He is the One that orders our steps (Psalm 37:23-24). We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. To be led by the Spirit is the only way to fulfill your calling. He leads by the inward witness and never contradicts the written Word of God. He gives His peace when things are right, or we may feel a check in our spirit when things are not right. We must learn how the Lord speaks or communicates to us because He loves us uniquely. We must listen for His voice everywhere we go and in everything we do. He will keep us on track. It’s a walk of faith! He gives us glimpses over time, not all at once, because our calling is a lifetime event!
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14
There are two meanings for the word son in the Greek language. One means a son by birth. The word son in the above verse means one who displays the character of his parent. So we are to reflect the character of God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. When we don’t know the character of God, we will fear going forward (1 John 4:16-18).
We must submit to God’s process. There is always pain in the process. We may go through hardship and adversity, but God uses things that we go through to develop our character to handle our calling and bring us to the next assignment (Romans 5:3-4). Therefore, we must not strive and get ahead of the Lord and birth something from our flesh as Abraham did with Ishmael (Genesis 15-18). Ishmael was birthed out of a genuine promise from God, but Abraham and Sarah decided to help God bring it to pass through the flesh. What you birth in the flesh and with your intellect, strength, etc., you will have to provide for in the flesh. So let the Spirit birth it. Then God provides! We will be miserable when trying to bring it about ourselves and in our strength.
I was a registered nurse for 38 years. I had many trials during that time. I wouldn’t say I liked the situations I found myself in and frequently moved from job to job looking for a better experience. I even left nursing for a while but was miserable there as well. However, I finally realized that I wasn’t submitting to the process that the Lord was bringing me through to develop my character, learn to trust Him, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I even had opportunities to be a teacher and leader in the nursing profession but turned them down initially. Finally, towards the end of my career, after submitting to the Lord’s process for me, I was at peace and rejoice where God has positioned me for this time in my life as a teacher and leader in ministry.
There will be many trials to strengthen us and build our faith for the position God has for us, but we will also have joy (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:12). Trials purify us to allow any impurities in us to manifest, so we must deal with them, not give up hope and look for God’s redemptive thread in our situations. Not all storms come to disrupt our lives. God in His wisdom may be using them to clear the path in front of us and lay the groundwork for where we are headed. However, the enemy may also try to put obstacles in our way to keep us from walking in our calling. Therefore, we need to discern God’s ways and go to the Lord in prayer to determine how to handle each situation we encounter.
God calls us according to His grace (Romans 12:6). God’s grace is not just His unmerited, undeserved favor, but His enablement or empowering us to do what we can’t do in our ability or the natural (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 1:5-11). God places gifts upon our lives, and we must steward them to build His kingdom and not use them for ourselves. His gifts come with His authority. We go in His authority wherever God sends us, i.e., education, military, medical field, politics, business, ministry, etc.
Don’t despise where God has placed you in His body or try to operate in someone else’s gift. Instead, be a faithful steward of what God has entrusted to you, and He will bring the multiplication (Matthew 25:14-29; Luke 16:10-12). We don’t have to dread the call of the Lord upon our lives. He places His desires in us!
Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4 – 5
I, even I, have spoken; Yes, I have called him, I have brought him, and his way will prosper. Isaiah 48:15
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.