“What is God’s calling for your life?”
For many people of faith, that question is alternately a source of mystery, frustration, confusion, and hope. Does God have a fine-tuned plan for each of us, or is God’s call more general, with the details left up to us?
You’ll likely find the same number of answers as the number of people that you ask.
But there is work that God calls all of us to do, and it’s laid out for us in the Bible. God makes it clear again and again that we’re to love others, care for the poor, and live our lives in such a way that we point to the power of the gospel. When we contemplate what God’s calling is for our lives, those universal commands are a great place to start.
Here are 16 Bible verses about God’s calling for our lives, no matter who we are or where we live!
(All Bible verses from the NIV. Bolded emphasis added.)
Old Testament verses about God’s calling
1. Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
2. Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
3. Isaiah 58:6-7
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
4. Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
5. Matthew 6:33-34
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
6. Mark 16:15
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
7. 1 Corinthians 7:17
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
8. Ephesians 4:1-6
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
9. Philippians 2:1-4
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
10. Philippians 3:12-14
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
11. 2 Timothy 1:10
He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
12. Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
13. Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
14. 1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
15. 1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
16. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
God, the creator of the universe, has called us to be part of his work to bring justice and kindness to his creation. What a joy and privilege! But the work ahead is challenging, too, and we’re grateful that God is with us.
Lord, help us to embrace your calling for our lives with equal parts fervor, wisdom, and humility.
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Top photo: There are 65 children in the Itumbule Primary Bible Club — 26 of whom are sponsored. The Bible club is part of World Vision’s Transformed Church for Transformed Communities program. The children learn Bible verses, great songs about Jesus, and are encouraged to grow in faith and good character. © 2017 World Vision, Jon Warren