Most of us struggle with what our calling or purpose really is or should be. We search high and low for God’s will when we need to be searching for Him. From an early age I had hints of my calling, road signs along my journey. These hints of God’s design were always resident in me. It just took time for them to be put to use to create the new creature I was designed by God to be. I had to surrender to His design. That took a lot of time and a lot of giving up of the things I was giving in to.
His desire for me and for you is that we “might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows.”1 However, there is a huge stumbling block to us obtaining this. We have an enemy, a thief, who also has a mission. That mission is to steal, kill or destroy2 my destiny and the destinies of all God’s children.
Satan is powerless unless we give the keys of our lives over to him. Most of us don’t knowingly give him access to our home, that place that is supposed to be reserved for the Holy Spirit.
“Haven’t you heard yet that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it.”3
God owns us, but allows us to steward our time, resources and our bodies. We have freedom of choice given to us by our Master. That gives the evil one full reign to tempt us. God tells us He will help us in our times of temptation.4 Many times, though, I didn’t want His help. I wanted to give in to temptation. I willfully did that time and time again.
Called to Write
As a child, I knew I would one day write a book. Back then, I wouldn’t have termed it a “calling.” I would have said it was a dream, but it never went away. It followed me throughout my life. The dream became defined as a book that would make a difference.
Little did I know, that dream would begin by me writing my own life story, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor. When I was dreaming about writing a book and mapping out my life plan, weighing 430 pounds was never a part of that. I don’t think it was God’s plan either. I fell into the evil one’s tempting snare of delicious foods, which became an addiction and nearly took my life. The devil was laughing the whole way through.
What Satan meant for evil, though, God used for His good.5 God, in His grace and mercy, was faithful to keep calling me back to Him and the path He had for me.
During a prayer time in January of 2013, God showed me it was time for me to write the book and it was to be my story. I had gone through hell and back. I’d gained an enormous amount of weight and lost it. Thinking about writing a true story about my biggest mess in life made me feel naked, exposed and very vulnerable.
Going Through Temptation
God had a calling on my life, but first I had to come through the fire. My temptation time was over 30 years long. I wasn’t as quick to understand that temptation comes before a person can step into his or her calling. Jesus got that memo, though, because He came through His temptations with flying colors. His first one was similar to what got me stuck for 30 years. It took Jesus no time at all to overcome it.
He had fasted for 40 days and He was hungry.6 The devil told Him to change the stones on the ground into loaves of bread to prove that He was the Son of God. Jesus gave a profound answer. He said, “It has been written, ‘Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”7
Jesus did not even entertain the idea of giving into His physical hunger. In that one answer, He summed up why we need to have a constant, sweet hunger for God. God feeds our souls. He keeps us alive. He sustains us. Obedience to Him helps us move and navigate through our lives.
In our lives, there are glorious times when we hear God and feel His anointing power guiding us into our calling. The strength of that calling will be tested. Will we endure the temptation, trial or difficulty or will we give up and abandon our call?
The thing that will get us through is understanding how important it is to hang on to God’s promises. Even if we fail and give into temptation that doesn’t mean our calling is revoked. It just means God has to tweak the timeline.
God has a purpose for each of us. It started before we were born when He planned every part of us and wrote the book about our lives.8 He wants us to succeed even more than we do. He is the one who knows exactly what we are uniquely designed to do.
We can’t let the devil’s temptations steal, kill or destroy our effectiveness in the Kingdom for the price of a cookie. We are worth more than that. God’s Kingdom is worth more than that.
This is a partial excerpt from Teresa Shields Parker’s newest book and first Bible study, Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God. A nine-session Bible study with questions and activities for each session, it is available on Amazon in print and on her website in ebook. The Sweet Hunger video teaching sessions are available for purchase on her website. The free Sweet Hunger Leader’s Guide can be downloaded for those wanting to use the book for the next small group study. To purchase or download any Sweet Hunger products, go HERE. To purchase the print book on Amazon go HERE. There are five other books in her Sweet Series. All are available on her website or on Amazon. She is an author, coach, speaker, journalist, wife and mother. She blogs at TeresaShieldsParker.com.
1John 10:10 AMP
2John 10:10 AMP
31 Corinthians 6:19-20 TLB
41 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
5Romans 8:28 NIV, Gen. 50:20 NASB
6Matthew 4:2 NIV
7Matthew 4:4 AMP
8Psalm 139:16 NLT