When I was in my junior year of college, I was paralyzed by indecision: to go to medical school, or not to go to medical school.
In some ways, it was a really good season of my life. I was finally free of my obsessive food-related thoughts, and had the brain space available to live for something other than dieting. But that new freedom was a big responsibility — what if I picked the wrong thing to live for?
A friend encouraged me to read the book Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, the premise of which states that God doesn’t really care what our vocations are, so long as we are doing it for His glory. DeYoung wasn’t arguing that only the really overtly “Christian” jobs were superior, either, as we sometimes tend to believe; instead, he stated that work in general was a God-given calling, and so long as we quit sitting around wondering what to do and get on with living our lives, we’ll be able to honor God. It doesn’t matter if we’re teachers or engineers or doctors, he said — just do something — because the teaching, engineering and doctoring aren’t the point. The gospel is.
In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul says the same thing. After expressing frustration over divisions in the church caused by various differences in teaching and preaching styles, he compelled readers to stop following after teachers and instead to follow after God. His own role wasn’t to create a following for himself based of who he led to Christ but rather to create a following for Christ, period. He writes, ” For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”
What about you?
Take a look at your life. What are the things you’re most passionate about? The things you care about? The things you talk to other people about, spend time thinking about, and work vehemently towards accomplishing?
Often times, those things themselves aren’t the point. It doesn’t matter if we develop the new app, help the student learn Algebra, or come to the right diagnosis if we aren’t keeping Christ in mind.
It all comes down to motivation.
For a long time, dieting was a thing in my life that I was pursuing completely independently of Christ. I had absolutely no holy motives in my weight-loss efforts; what I wanted was to feel in control of my body, achieve a certain aesthetic, and numb out all the uncomfortable things in my life that I so desperately wanted to avoid. On the contrary, the call of God on my life was to give up control, to draw attention to Him rather than myself, and to show up in the ugliest parts of my life even if they were hard (Philippians 4:13). In order to give up my pride, vanity, and idolatry, I had to give up the dieting.
In some ways, it doesn’t matter what we do. That is, if we’re doing them for Christ. But by that logic, this means that there are things we should not be doing because for us, it’s impossible to do them for the sake of the gospel.