​The Thin Line Between Calling and Desire

“There’s a thin line between calling and desire.”

My supervisor’s words rang in my ear. In my heart. In my spirit. Just because I want to do something for God doesn’t mean that it is what God wants me to do for him. Will you do out of desire or out of calling. Desire is what I choose to do. Calling is what God chooses me to do. That’s a tough decision you need to ask yourself. It might clarify your heart’s motivation and life direction.

Desire cannot be sustained forever. Calling can sustain you through dark times when you question God, “Did You really call me?”

A passage in Mark 5 shows us the difference. Jesus had cast a legion of demons from a man. Naturally, this man desired to follow Jesus. Isn’t that logical? This man would need time to go through Alpha, join a Bible Study and hear some good sermons. That was his desire. But Jesus was calling him elsewhere. Check it out:

Mark 5:18-19 

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Jesus wanted him to go home! Why? To share how much Jesus had done for him. He “begged” to follow Jesus but was instead sent back on a mission. You might have certain ideas on what you want to do for God. Be a missionary? Be a pastor? Start a bible school? I’m not saying these are wrong, often they are good! But is it a desire or a calling? Take note: A good thing is not always a God thing. Has God called you to do that? If not, would you reconsider seeking God’s face?

I’m not sure whether this man struggled with this decision. I certainly would have. But he obeyed Jesus at once. It says:

Mark 5:20 

So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

The man simply did what Jesus told him to do. Was it a success? Yes! The Bible says “all the people were amazed.” They were amazed at the power and mercy of Jesus because of this man’s testimony. You might desire to go full-time ministry, but like the man who was sent back to the Decapolis, Jesus might be sending you to the marketplace. Jesus would have said, “Tell your friends, your collegues, your clients how much I’ve done for you.” Who knows what might have happened if he followed his desire rather than his calling?

If you are unsure if it is a desire or a calling, I advise you to seek God. Ask him to confirm it for you. Don’t lean on your human understanding. Just because you want it doesn’t mean it is what God wants you to do. He might be leading you in a direction you never imagined. 

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