How Do I Know that God is Calling Me for a Pastoral Ministry?



Here are at least 10 principles for us to be able to determine God's will in our lives:


1. Ask God for Directions

Matthew 7:7  "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"


God is more than willing to guide us. All we need to do is to ask for His guidance. Times when we need to make important decisions (either about career, marriage, etc.) are the best times to have a good line of communication with God. All we need to do is to get on our knees.


2. Avoid Worldliness

Romans 12:2  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."


Conformity to the world clouds our spiritual senses. When our senses our blocked, we become insensitive to the guidance of God. When making important decisions, actually every time, we should make sure that we are not in anyway influenced or confused by the evil things of this world.


3. Study God's Word

Psalms 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."


Above all other things listed here, God's word is the surest guide. Whatever God says will always be true and the Bible is a library of God's words.


Often times, the Bible has an account similar to the situation where we are in.  God's word is packed with principles related to decisions that are perplexing us. Every time we make decisions, we must always ask, "what does the Bible say about this." If I do this, "what does the Bible say." If I do that, "what does the Bible say." The bigger the decision we are to make, the deeper must be our study of God's word.


4. Counsel with Godly People

Proverbs 11:14  "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."


Counseling gives us a different perspective from our own. Other people can see things that we cannot. When we counsel, we avoid blind spots in our decision making.


In choosing counselors, it is important that we take counsel with people of experience. "The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head." (Proverbs 20:29) Taking this into consideration, parents, grandparents, church elders, and pastors would qualify to be a source of good counsel given that they are Godly. Above all it is important that we consider the spirituality of the person we are wanting to counsel with. Godly people, people who are bent to worldliness are the best human counselors.  "Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?" (Luke 6:39) "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." (Psalms 1:1)


5. Listen to the Impressions of the Holy Spirit

John 16:13  "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."


The Holy Spirit is often referred as the Still Small Voice. The Holy Spirit can certainly make impressions in our heart and is more than willing to give us guidance. However, we need to be very careful that we are not listening to our own heart instead of the Holy Spirit. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) 


6. Watch for the Providences of God

Deuteronomy 1:33  "Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day."


The movement of the camp of Israel the dissert route was led by the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day. We may not have these two marvelous pillars today but God is still in the business of going ahead of us, leading the way.


God can create circumstances in our lives that can serve an indicator of what He want us to do. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) We should  learn to ask, "Is this door open or is it closed? If it is closed, what is closest door?


7. Wait Upon the Lord

Psalms 27:11  "Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies."

Psalms 27:14  "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." 


Missing on this important principle has brought a lot of sincere Christians doing something different from what the Lord intended them to do. We can immediately recall how Abraham and Sarah took a bit of a detour that led to the birth of Ishmael. Their impatience, by the way, still brings troubles to Christendom even today. It could have been avoided had they waited for God to fulfill His promise in His own way and time.


8. Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

Proverbs 3:6  "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."


God certainly gives direction when we ask. However, no matter how clearly He shows the way, we can still miss it if we choose not to take it.


The reality is, God knows the best for us. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11) His answer can either be in line with our thoughts or the complete opposite of what we want. We should fully trust in the Lord even if He is leading us in another path. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8) When we learn to trust God unconditionally, then we can be fully guided by Him.


9. Lean NOT Unto Thine Own Understanding

Proverbs 3:5, 6  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."


Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Our human understanding is often flawed. The worst thing is that we have accustomed our self in heeding our own perceived wisdom. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." (1Corinthians 3:18)


Instead of depending on our own limited understanding, we should tightly hold on God's infinite wisdom.


10. Acknowledge God in All Thy Ways

Proverbs 3:5, 6  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."


When we pray for God's guidance, we should also utter, "Lord help me to acknowledge your leading." When we learn to acknowledge God in little things, we will be more sensitive of His leadings in greater things.


"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) When God answers our prayer, we should always remember to thank Him. "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matthew 11:25)

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