At some point in the later teen years, most teenagers in Godâs Church begin to ask themselves, âAm I being called?â Sometimes this question takes the form of âShould I get baptized?â or âIs this my parentsâ Church, or is it Godâs
Churchâand my Church?â At best, most are unsure of how to answer these basic questions, and many have absolutely no idea whatsoever how to address them.
This brief article will make plain, from Godâs Word, how to know if God is calling you. I intend to keep it simple, virtually impossible to misunderstand. After all, this question is one of the most important you will ever face. Properly understanding its answer is paramount.
Many of our young people have grown up in Godâs Church, having been born into Godâs way of life. Others came into the Church at various stages of childhood. Still others have only begun to attend Godâs Church in their later teenage years, perhaps at age 16, 17 or 18. This was the case with me. I first began learning Godâs truth when I was 17 years old.
Before God called me, I had not known a single one of the true doctrines of the Bible. The calling process began when I heard Mr. Armstrongâs voice in 1966. It was immediately evident that I was hearing things that I had NEVER heard beforeâand with plain scriptural proofs to back them up. I remember being astonished at how clear the Bible became for meâand how much fun it was to study, when I had always found it boring and hard to understand while attending the respected Protestant denomination of my youth.
Actually, people of all ages and backgrounds puzzle over just what a âcallingâ is. Many reduce it to little more than a particular feeling that comes over them, which they attribute to God. Millions in the world feel
âcalledââin some cases to the âchurch,â in other cases to the ministry, or missionary work, in still other cases to work with children, and in yet others to serve in the medical profession or even the military. Ignorant of what God says, so many people are left to rely on mere feelings, assuming that their livesâand the paths they chooseâare divinely inspired. Most never learn that these âcallingsâ have nothing to do with following the true God of the Bible.
A true calling from God is far more than this, that or the other abstract feeling that human reasoning concludes is from God!
Defining a True Calling
In Johnâs gospel, Jesus stated, âNo man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw himâ (6:44). Twenty-one verses later, He repeated to His audience, âTherefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Fatherâ (vs. 65). In the next verse, John records that âFrom that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.â
Many who heard Christ simply could not understand that God has to âdrawâ people and that a calling is something that is âgivenâ to them. While many today appear to understand that they must be called, they do not seek to understandâfrom the Bibleâhow to know for certain that it is God who is callingâdrawingâgiving to them whatever it is they are to receive.
Letâs consider a few scriptures that make plain what it is Christians are âgivenâ when they are called. In Matthew, Christâs disciples asked, âWhy speak you unto them [the multitudes who heard Him] in parables?â (13:10). His answer summarizes how and with what God calls: âHe answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven [God], but to them it is not givenâ (vs. 11). The next several verses amplify what He meant, explaining how many in the world can hear the truths of God (the âmysteries of the kingdomâ) but not grasp them. Since the overwhelming majority of mankind are not being drawn by the power of Godâs Spirit, they have not been given the ability to comprehend Godâs Word.
How does this apply to you? The answer directly explains how to know if God is calling you: A calling, in the simplest terms, is understanding the truths of God when you see, read or hear them. This is easy to understand.
Ask yourself: âDo I understand the truths about the Sabbath, Holy Days, gospel of the kingdom of God, tithing, Godâs Law, clean and unclean meats, one true Church doctrine, etc.?â When you hear these things in sermons, Bible studies, booklets and articles, do they have meaning to you? Do you see them as special knowledge others do not have and will not accept?
If the answers are âyes,â then God is calling you. The mysteries of the kingdom of God are being given to you!
Two additional verses demonstrate that God holds people accountable for what they understand. Notice James 4:17: âTherefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.â Now read Hebrews 10:26: âFor if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.â
Letâs understand. Each time you learn more of Godâs truth (what is âgoodâ) and it makes sense to youâyou at least generally understand itâyou are being given spiritual knowledge for which God will hold you accountable.
This makes understanding how God calls one much more serious than many teenagers have believed. Recognize that God will only call each human being once. Therefore, you are responsible now for the knowledge that you are being given. If one does not act on what he is learning, God will take it away (Rom. 2:13; Psa. 111:10). Such a person is in grave spiritual danger.
The Greatest Freedom
Godâs truth is most exciting to understand. It is the path to all the wonderful, good things in lifeâthings God wants you to have. It is the path to the greatest freedom that there is. Christ told certain Jews professing to believe on Him: âIf you continue in My word [the truth â John 17:17], then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you freeâ (John 8:31-32). You must be willing to âcontinueâ in your studies of Godâs Word, learning ever more of His truth, which Christ explains will âset you freeâ from a world cut off from God and held captive by Satan.
Even this is precious knowledge. Your friends in the world understand none of these things. Without Godâs calling, they have no possibility of enjoying now what is being offered to youâif you are understanding and acting upon Godâs truth.
It is also vital that you make certain the things you are learning. You should find yourself wanting to prove the doctrines of God: âprove all things; hold fast that which is goodâ (I Thes. 5:21). If you know God is calling you, take time to prove that He exists. Then prove that the Bible is truly His inspired Word. Finally, prove the identity of Godâs Church. Remove all doubt, leaving no room for confusion. Then pray fervently about the things that you are learning. When you are unclear on a matter, remember that Christ taught, âAsk, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto youâ (Matt. 7:7).
John 14:17 explains how many older teenagersâthose coming toward baptismâbegin to find that they can understand the things of God. Notice what Christ said when speaking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit they were soon to receive: âEven the Spirit of truth; [which] the world cannot receive, because it sees [it] not, neither knows [it]: but you know [it]; for [it] dwells with you, and shall be in you.â
At this point, the disciples were much like many of Godâs young people today, ages 18 to 20. They were seeing many spiritual truths in part, but did not fully grasp the enormous importance of Godâs Plan and way of life. Godâs Spirit, working with them, was revealing certain things that they would only understand in a greater way once it was in them, beginning at conversion. Ultimately, to fully understand all the things of Godâall the mysteries of the kingdom of Godâone must be begotten of the Holy Spirit, when it enters directly into
the mind! Lacking baptism and conversion, it is completely impossible for anyone of any ageâteenager, senior citizen or anyone in betweenâto truly understand even a single biblical truth.
Your Path to Conversion
Set the goal of one day receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit through repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). If you do this, you will find a growing interest in Godâs Word, which will slowly increase as you move toward the age of baptism.
But you must be patient, willing to wait for sufficient mental, emotional and psychological maturity to occur. Only then should you pursue baptismal counseling. (It has generally been understood that eighteen years is the very minimal age to begin this process.)
Prior to this, practice changing all the bad habits that you can. There are certain physical changes that you can make before baptism. Remember, conversion is entirely about changing, growing, overcomingâand developing the character of God. This involves getting into the habit of regular prayer, Bible study, meditation and even periodic fasting.
Then take time to study all of the books, booklets and articles dealing with faith, conversion, baptism, your human potential, and the proofs of Godâs existence, His Word and His Church. Muchâactually everythingâis at stake for you if God is calling you now. Take each step carefully.
Talk to your parents about conversion. Ask them to answer every possible question you can think of. Have good, solid exchanges with them. Throughout your teen years, try to have regular discussions with your parents about this subject. (If possible, well before final counseling, maybe you can also do this once with one of Godâs ministers.)
A final word of caution: Be careful of peer pressureâand I have seen this often! Others of your friends may be pursuing baptism before you. They may be older or simply a bit more mature, and therefore a little more ready than others of similar age. Do not be discouraged. Follow the timing that is right for you. Yet, do not unnecessarily delay, merely because you have not asked fervently or often enough for the gift of repentance (II Tim. 2:25; Acts 11:18). Be careful that you do not follow the pattern of the world, falling into waiting for a magical feeling that ânow is the time.â
The Bible teaches that ârepentance is toward Godâ and that âfaith is towardâŠJesus Christâ (Acts 20:21). Conversion is a personal private matter between each individual, God and Christ.
This is the only way to approach it.