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Called by a Faithful God

April 14, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NRSV)

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Focus

Sometimes God’s call on our lives can feel scary. It can summon us to new risks. It can disrupt our comfortable lives. But the more we know God to be utterly faithful, the more we’ll be able – even eager – to say yes to the call of God.

Today’s devotion is part of the series God’s Transformational Calling.

Devotion

I know a man—I’ll call him Fred—who had quite a harrowing experience with a new job. Though he lived on the West Coast, he was recruited by an intriguing East Coast startup. After several rounds of interviews, the company offered Fred a job that he really wanted.  So Fred resigned from his California company and moved clear across the country. On the first day of his new job, his boss called him in for a meeting. “Fred,” the boss said, “I hate to say this to you, but your job has been phased out. And we don’t have anything else for you. I’m sorry about how this is going to mess you up, but we really don’t have any other options.” Fred, as you can imagine, was shocked and disappointed. He had put his trust in those who had hired him, only to be let down by them in a devastating way.

The call of God disrupts our lives. God invites us into a whole new family, the family of his sons and daughters, and this can take some getting used to. God summons us to be set apart from the world for relationship with God and for participation in God’s work in the world. That requires a major life reset. Saying yes to God’s call is costly, even though the benefits far outweigh the costs. But if we’re going to give up things we value in order to heed God’s call, we must surely wonder if God is trustworthy. We wouldn’t want to say yes to God only to be left high and dry like Fred when his new company abandoned him.

The Apostle Paul answers our question about the trustworthiness of God. In 1 Corinthians 1:9 he writes, “God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” There’s our answer. God is faithful. God can be trusted. The Greek word translated as “faithful” is pistos, closely related to the word for “faith,” which is pistis. We put our faith (pistis) in God because God is utterly faithful (pistos).

How do we know God is faithful? Well, Paul could very well have pointed to the faithfulness of God throughout the centuries as portrayed in the Old Testament. But, instead, he underscores what God has done recently in the experience of the Corinthians. God has given them his grace in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:4). God has enriched them in speech and knowledge, generously supplying them with spiritual power (1:5-7). And God has called them “into the fellowship of his Son” (1:9).

When we’re trying to sort out God’s call on our lives, it’s important to remember his faithfulness. This is especially true if we’re in an extended season of discernment, a time in which we really aren’t clear on the particular calling God has for us. It can be unsettling to wait on God, especially if, like me, you’re not naturally inclined to be patient. Yet, if we are confident in God’s faithfulness, then we can trust God even in the silence.

Knowing God’s faithfulness is also crucial in situations when God’s particular calling brings disruption or even sacrifice. If, for example, you sense that God is calling you to take a new job or move to a new location or both, then you’ll be willing to walk out on a limb because God can be trusted. Or, perhaps you know it’s time for you to retire from your full-time job, yet you’re not quite sure what should come next. You’ll be able to take the risky step of retirement even without a thorough game plan if you are relying on a faithful God.

God’s call can feel scary. It can summon us to new risks. It can disrupt our comfortable lives. But the more we know God to be utterly faithful, the more we’ll be able – even eager – to say yes to the call of God.

Reflect

Have you ever sensed that God was calling you to something risky? How did you respond?

How confident are you in God’s faithfulness . . . really?

What helps you to know that God is truly and fully faithful?

Act

Set aside some time to reflect and journal. Make a list of all the ways God has been faithful to you in the last year. (You can go back further, if you wish.) As you remember God’s faithfulness, offer thanks.

Pray

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me! Amen.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness,” by Thomas Chisolm (1923, now in the public domain).


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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Spiritual Resources Available (1 Corinthians 1:4–9)


One thought on “Called by a Faithful God

  1. David Lee says:

    Mark, I can’t help but think that this devotional series took on new life with the transitions that you’ve recently announced. I hear them in a fresh voice, knowing that you are living what you are sharing.

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