[Charlotte, NC] Steven Furtick of Elevation Church recently published a video on YouTube where he discussed what it means to have a biblical calling. While Furtick rightly stated in the beginning of the video that calling in a biblical sense is “more general in that God has called us to Himself,” and that this doesn’t mean that we’re going to be aware of a specific path before it comes to pass, what’s disturbing is that he goes on to say that he can’t think of any example where this happened in Scripture.
I can’t think of any evidence in the bible that people were given a[sic] itinerary for their life and then their life followed that itinerary. It’s much more like riding with your GPS without the directions tab to see the next turns. It’s much more next turn.
While there may be merit to this line of reasoning for believers today, it’s troubling that Furtick would say that this has never happened. In fact, the Bible is full of people who were given specific itineraries by God, and despite their repeated efforts to step off of that itinerary, their life stayed on that path, turn by turn, until God was through with them.
A simple example of this would be Jonah. Jonah was given specific instructions of what his calling in life was going to entail. Jonah desperately tried to avoid God’s plan for him and despite his rebellion, God’s plan, that Jonah was made clearly aware of, was carried out.
Of course, this isn’t the only example. In fact, the entire history of the Old Testament is filled with prophets that God raised up from the womb, knew before they were even created, and gave specific instructions for their lives that would be followed.
Furtick goes on to say that we, as humans, desire to know God’s specific plan for us, more than just a general calling to himself. But is that really true? The Bible is replete with examples of those who did know God’s specific plan, even among the faithful, attempted desperately to avoid it. The problem isn’t that we want to truly know what God’s plan is for our life, the truth is that we want God to carry out our plans. We believe we have a better plan than God.
Look at Abraham for example. God promised Abraham that he’d make him the father of a great nation through his wife, Sarah. At such an old age, Abraham and Sarah doubted. So instead, thinking he had a better plan, he had a son with his wife’s servant. But this did not stop God’s promised plan from happening and thirteen years later, Isaac, who God promised, was born.
Then, of course, there are examples of the judges, namely Samson, who was declared by God to his parents that he would be a Nazarite, and would carry out God’s specific purposes. And there was Jacob and Esau, of whom God declared before they were born that the older brother, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob. We see that this plan was carried out meticulously by God, despite the protests of those involved.
However, the greatest example of all would of course be the man, Jesus Christ Himself. Primarily in Isaiah 53, we see an exact itinerary of Jesus’ life. It is a word-for-word plan of Christ’s life and his ultimate sacrifice that would ultimately be carried out in exact accordance. The promise of Jesus is found as early as Genesis in Scripture, and every aspect of his life, death, burial, sacrifice, atonement, and resurrection is spelled out beforehand. And while nearly the entire world was in protest against Jesus, not one iota of God’s plan was missed.
So while it is true that Christians today are not given a specific individualized step-by-step revelation of God’s plan for their lives, it is utterly false to say that there are no examples in Scripture of this happening. Yes, today, the canon of Scripture is closed, and God no longer speaks to us through prophets (Hebrews 1:1), but the Scriptures themselves are a testament to God’s plan and the lives of many involved, and never once has God’s revealed plan been thwarted.
These comments by Furtick are in the first minute of the video below.