And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8:28
I have a tendency to look at verses like Romans 8:28 and see them as conditional: if I am called according to His purpose, then all things will work together for my good. My mind then immediately goes down the path of, “How do I know if I’m called? What if I’ve missed my calling and this verse no longer applies to me?”
This year, my prayer was that the Lord would give me discernment when I read scripture so that I could be convicted of His truth and grace without the context of my own fears and doubts. As I was reading and re-reading Romans 8:28, I felt a gentle nudging to go deeper and understand what it meant to be called.
The book of Romans was originally written in Greek and the word used for “called” (klētois) in Romans 8:28 was used again in Jude 1:1: “I am writing to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” Jude is clear that to be called simply means that you have been set apart and that your salvation has been guaranteed.
Since I know I am saved, I know I am called. Romans 8:28 is not a conditional verse, it’s a promise. Because I am called according to His purpose, and because I love Him, God will work all things together for my good.
- Your past didn’t ruin your calling.
- Your screw-ups didn’t ruin your calling.
- Your relapses didn’t ruin your calling.
- Your shame didn’t ruin your calling.
- Your guilt didn’t ruin your calling.
You didn’t ruin your calling because you’re not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan. If you think that you’ve messed everything up and your dark places can’t be used to bring Him glory, then you are trying to re-write scripture.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Peter, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Peter had a calling on his life, but then he turned around and denied Jesus three times. Did that negate his calling? No. It was Peter who first proclaimed the Gospel on the day of Pentecost and Peter who took the Gospel to the Gentiles. God used those moments of weakness and fear to equip Peter to strengthen his brothers and become the pillar of the early church.
You might have walked down a path that wasn’t the one God had planned for you but don’t let the enemy convince you that you have missed your calling or that your past is more important than your future. Trust in God’s promise that He will always use your mistakes and shortcomings to ultimately fulfill the calling He has placed on your life.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. – Romans 11:29