By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
In differing ways and varying degrees of intensity, we all have some interest in what the bible teaches about the paranormal. We come from all walks of life...different "callings". In fact, it is the notion of CALLING that I would like to examine together with you. As we shall see, this is a vital subject... but there is quite a bit of confusion surrounding it. What piqued my interest recently was the flood of people who say they feel "called" to be demonologists/exorcists/deliverance (fill in the blank) And it got me thinking about what the bible says about CALLING. I wanted to ask: what is God's calling for you?
The most important thing we can learn about "calling" is that the bible distinguishes between two types of calling--Primary calling and secondary callings. From my own informal observation, I do not think that many folks know the difference...only because they have not been taught.
There is a CALLING because there is a CALLER. This notion of CALLING is vacuous apart from God. Our callings are inextricably bound up with our Almighty Caller.
According to the bible CALLING, in its primary sense, is virtually synonymous with the word "salvation". Does that surprise you? It is this Primary sense of CALLING that we most urgently need to grasp. Here is just a sampling of dozens and dozens of verses which contain the word CALL in this Primary sense.
"...Including you who are CALLED to belong to Jesus Christ.To all those in Rome who are loved by God and CALLED to be saints."(Romans 1:6-7).
"God is faithful, by whom you were CALLED into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord....for consider your CALLING brothers: not many of you were wise..." (1 Corinthians 1:9,26).
Call, called, calling--if you check your concordance, you will see that dozens of times these words are used to show that we are identified as those whom "God has called." We have been called out of darkness...we have been called to an imperishable inheritance OR HOPE...we have been called into a personal relationship with the Living God. God has called us to live CORAM DEO...before the heart of God, moment by moment.
CALL come from the Greek "Kaleo" (to call..lol) The word "church", or ecclesia (called out ones) comes from this Greek root. Corporately and as individuals, we are identified as those whom God has called (inwardly). Do you see the centrality of this concept? Is it a vital part of your self-identity, self-image? It should be, and your life is impoverished to the extent that it is not.
So, our PRIMARY calling is not what we DO, rather we are called to Someone. The CALLER has called the called...The Caller has sovereignly called us to Himself.God has first called us into an intimate relationship with Him. "What is your calling?" When we hear that question asked, usually our first inclination is to discuss what vocation or work we believe God has "called" us to. But trouble can creep in if we don't have first things first. Do we find ourselves restlessly trying to make a mark on the world for the Lord...or to make our lives "count"? Our ultimate security and significance can only be found in God--in knowing that we have been CALLED by Him.Have we put the calling horse before the calling cart? If we do not CONSCIOUSLY place primary emphasis on the fact that God has called us into fellowship with Him, then our work will become idolatry. God is jealous for Him to be our first love.
In this primary sense, all of us have the same CALLING--to know and love God intimately.
I do no have time to discuss in detail the notion of effectual calling, which is when the outward call of the gospel is sovereignly internalized in our hearts and we hear the inner call by the power of the Holy Spirit. When people hear the outward call of the gospel, some are inwardly called at that moment through the Almighty power of the Holy Spirit. It is not my calling(!!) to emphasize my reformed distinctives, so I will leave it at that.
Think of the first and greatest commandment--"Make as big an impact on the world as possible", right? Wrong! The entire bible is summed up in these words--LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR BEING. God has never insisted that any of us will change the world, but He does insist that there be excellence in our relationships--first with Him, family, and others. Our primary calling is to love God as intimately as is possible this side of heaven. Is that your primary desire? Your dominant life value? It should be because it is your Primary CALLING!
Our calling is teleological in nature, in that there is a specific end to which we are called...we are being called HOME. The great goal the Holy Spirit is leading God's elect is heavenward to be in the presence of our Lord. But our calling is comprehensive--encompassing all aspects and stages of life. Note these texts show that our calling covers all the intermediate stages before our final destiny. It is a CALLING to--fellowship with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9); inherit blessing (1 Peter 3:9); to liberty (Galatians 5:13); to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15) to holiness (Thessalonians 4:7) TO ONE HOPE (Ephesians 4:4) to eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12); and to God's kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
Do you see how utterly repugnant the notion of "trapped spirits" is to the grandeur of our calling heavenward? Encased within our very salvation is the calling and absolute certainty of our hope. We have been CALLED TO ONE HOPE (Ephesians 4:4..above) Our free-will ends at death. The notion of "turning down" one's call home is a slap in the face of our Almighty/tender Caller. No unfinished business...no suicide...no premature or traumatic death of any kind is beyond the pale of the Caller. Only in America, when our concept of God has become so anemic, could this monstrosity have taken root. The notion of ghosts flies in the face of God's CALL. Any Christian who has embraced this occultic superstition has turned CALLING on its head, and introduced a contradiction into the heart of their theological system. It causes spiritual instability...and exposes God's CALLED to demonic oppression.
"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ...The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him...The one aim of the CALL of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him." Oswald Chamber. How can one ever do better than "My utmost for His highest"? It is such an easy trap to fall into (emphasizing fruitfulness), but our desire to bear fruit for God should flow out of our Primary calling of a childlike love for Him.
There is something wonderfully freeing and anxiety reducing about waking up in the morning and knowing that what counts most is WHOSE we are, and not WHO we are...that we are human beings and not human doings.....that intimacy with the Lord moment by moment is what we have been called to. My friends, this can change your life! What a stress-buster, as well as bringing substantial healing to those who are obsessively driven to prove they are significant. We ARE loved..we ARE significant...we ARE secure (whether we feel it or not) because the Caller has called us!!
There is such an electrical charge about ministering in things supernatural. That is why I think it is particularly important for those called (in secondary sense, as we shall see) to help those struggling with demonic oppression, to make doubly sure they have first things first. I know from personal experience how exhilarating it is to SEE spiritual reality...to SEE shadow demons fleeing in the name of Jesus...to cleanse a house or person of a very powerful demonic stronghold. And while that can be quite a faith builder, it can also quietly become an end in itself...or losing sight of the primacy of loving God. An exorcist is the same as a banker or a homemaker when it comes to what their Primary calling is. Nobody needs to have this straight more than an exorcist, or anyone who deals with the spirit realm in ministry.
How many pastors and missionaries have sacrificed their children and their relationship with God, upon the altar of enlarging their sphere of influence? For some folks seminary turns into a spiritual cemetery...as fascination with knowledge about God slowly replaces personal knowledge OF God.
What of the other type of calling? Let me say that both Catholics and Protestants have consciously or unconsciously adopted a two-tier view of calling. Priests, pastors, missionaries are CALLED, but bankers, truckers, plumbers are ALLOWED to do what they do. The "full-time" ministry is a higher calling in many people's eyes. But remember, all Christians are FULLTIME witnesses for Christ.In addition, there is no sacred/secular division of labor. In God's eyes ALL lawful labor is sacred. It was Martin Luther who re-discovered this biblical truth--thus ennobling all work. If you wish to be an exorcist that is fine, but please do not do it because you think your work will be more significant than the carpentry work you do now.
How do we discover what God's secondary calling is? Find out what your motivated abilities are; things you are good at (not necessarily the best in the world), and they give you immense satisfaction. God has sovereingly wired you in such a way that certain activities really turn you on. I love to write, and writing my book was one of the most intense and protracted pleasurable experiences of my life. I believe God has called me to write, especially to expose Satan's lie re ghosts. All of our callings should bring us pleasure, but they should also benefit the Body, and primarily glorify God. In all things, let us live Coram Deo...before the heart of God.
"Seeing Ghosts through God's Eyes" (also in a Kindle edition)...please consider purchasing my book which uses science, logic, and the bible to analyze the true source of power behind paranormal activity.