Calling to Christ: Where’s My Place by Robert Davis Smart. WestBowPress. 116 pages. 2017.
Calling to Christ is the second of four seasons of gospel transformation in the author’s Four Spiritual Seasons of Spiritual Formation series. The author has been my pastor for more than 22 years, and has been teaching this material for several years. He writes that a clear sense of our identity in Christ ought to precede our calling formation to Christ, and assumes we have a reasonable grip on our identity in Christ. Thus, the reader may want to initially read the first book in the series, Embracing Your Identity in Christ: Renouncing Lies and Foolish Strategies. This second season also prepares us for the last two seasons of spiritual formation – intentionality and legacy.
The book is designed for group study with discussion questions provided at the end of each chapter designed to help each person discover and write out a sense of their calling to Christ. The goal is that by the end of the book each person can use the template provided in the last chapter to write out what they sense is God’s call on their life.
How do you get started with determining your calling? The author writes that if you are a new creature in Christ and have a solid sense of your identity, the first essential question is settled – who am I in Christ? Then, you would want to ask in prayer – where’s my place?
The author writes that calling formation is for a season, not a mere job decision that lasts a week or so. It usually takes from age eighteen to thirty-five, but is always renewing with changes in our particular callings within our general calling to Christ. He writes that a vocation is not merely one’s choice of career or a decision to get married, but is a matter of hearing a higher call or voice from God when we make such decisions. A job, a marriage, singleness, or a ministry may all be identified as particular callings of ours within our common overall general calling. He tells us that our general calling comes from God to every Christian, but our particular callings vary from one Christian to another.
The author states that since God has so much to say in the Bible about working, serving, and employment, it is surprising that Christians have made this major chunk of our lives seem so unimportant and “secular” in the sight and presence of God throughout the week. He states that God is for you in your workplace because He put you there. Your work matters to God, so you can pray for help in moments of unfair opposition.
He writes that although we may encounter resistance from the outside in our callings, much of the opposition to our joy is related to internal hindrances in our own hearts. He tells us that Christians ought to avoid living like practical atheists in their callings because it is incompatible with what they believe to be true.
I’ve been reading a lot about the subject of rest recently. The author tells us that until we learn to deeply rest and separate ourselves from our work, we won’t work effectively.
This book teaches the reader to get a clearer sense of their calling. After that he wants you to put what you’ve learned into practice, which includes sharing with others your sense of calling to Christ.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend you reading each of the books in the Four Spiritual Seasons of Spiritual Formation series in order:
- Embracing Your Identity in Christ: Renouncing Lies and Foolish Strategies
- Calling to Christ: Where’s My Place
- Intentionality for Christ
- Legacy from Christ