Beyond the Spotlight

Embracing a Humble Path to God's Purpose & Calling in Your Life

Tracee Padilla

12/8/20235 min read

While God desires our success, our tendency to fixate on outcomes eclipses the true obedience required in our calling. The danger lies in placing "OURSELF & OUR ABILITIES" at the center of our calling, diminishing God's role. The calling is not about us; it's about what God wants to accomplish THROUGH us. Shifting focus from our preconceived notions of the 'calling' to obeying the One who calls us reveals our true faithfulness to God.

As Mother Theresa wisely said, "God did not call me to be successful, He called me to be faithful."

This means, success emanates from our obedience, trusting in God's faithfulness over relying on our abilities. Instead of crafting a checklist of success, let's transform it into a guide for becoming more of what the Lord wants us to be/become. If you take anywhere from 5-10 minutes scrolling on any social media platform, it's not hard to find a post or reel telling you how to achieve your dreams, bigger and better than you could've ever imagined and all you need is to pay $120 for a Master Class and your world will change forever. While I believe many of those classes can serve a good purpose, we must question if that aligns with God's true calling for us.

A true calling to follow the Lord, from a scripural perspective, looks like this:

  1. Not my will, but God's will. Your kingdom come, your will be done. Matthew 6:10 - John the Baptist exemplifies this; given THE ULTIMATE platform to prepare the way of the Lord (Matthew 3:3) he could have allowed that calling and responsibility get to his head, yet, he received it with grace and humility in the most beautiful way. In today's context, he might have gone viral overnight, becoming a Christian celebrity where the eyes of others would be placed more on him than Jesus. But John understood the call on his life and never once sought the limelight of his calling.

  2. I must decrease, God must increase. The focus is on Jesus, not ourselves. When Jesus came onto the scene John the Baptist didn't feel slighted in the least, yet he could've because all the sudden the spotlight left him and went to Jesus. But instead, we see the heart of who he really was as his ministry went parallel with Jesus's ministry, when John's disciple said, "Look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him." John 3:26 John's heart-felt response, "This joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:29-30 He understood that the assignment of his calling was never truly about him, but about leading others to Christ and in everything he did, he reflected that.

    I want to highlight that after Jesus came onto the scene, the popularity of John the Baptist diminished quickly. In today's world we would tend to think, "He must be doing something wrong. He just doesn't have 'it' anymore." Even to the point of being shunned by our society and I'm talking the Christian society. But in all truth, he did exactly what God had called him to do and did it with amazing success because the ultimate focus was about bringing honor to the Lord, not to himself. He never took ownership of the calling to feed his own ego, he understood the position and calling that had been placed in his life and left the ownership of the calling in the hands of God where it belonged.

  3. Learning to walk by faith. Abraham demonstrated what that path looked like. And he also reveals how it wasn't easy to wait on a promise that God had given him in his older years. A promise that truly was impossible at his age, but he understood the importance of his relationship with the Lord and what it meant to trust Him. An interesting thing to note from Romans 4:13-14, Paul writes, "Clearly, God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was not based on his obedience to God's law, but on the RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God that comes by faith. If God's promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless." v.16 "So the promise is RECEIVED by faith."

    Two things stand out here. 1) Abraham had a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with the Lord. Relationship comes from spending time with someone, staying connected, or the state of being connected. And from that connection with the Lord is WHY he was able to trust the Lord and walk in the faith required for the calling. 2) He RECEIVED the promise by faith. To receive something means, to be given, presented with, to take something that is given, paid, or sent. When God gave him the promise that He would make him into a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3), Abraham RECEIVED it by faith. And the only reason why he was able to have that kind of faith in God was because he had a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with the Lord. It's through this type of connection with God that allows us to believe in the impossible. It is our reminder that the calling isn't about us, but it's about what God is wanting to do through us.

  4. Live a life of humility. 1 Peter 5:6 says, "So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you." A lot of times we tend to stop right there but let's keep reading. v.6-9 "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are."

    When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2), positioning our hearts towards living in relationship with the focus of following after HIM and not the ways of our culture is what will lead us into rooms that we never could've imagined we'd be standing in. You don't want to push your calling into a place you were never meant to walk in. It's in that position where vs. 6 comes into play, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." If we place ourself in a room thinking we belong there and it was never God's place for us to be there, it's what I call an 'enemy set up' to destroy you. Why? Because when we position ourselves in places we were never meant to be, we're not ready spiritually, mentally and physically to take on the responsibility, SPIRITUALLY speaking, that is required. Which means, we've walked into that place on our own strength and we know from scripture, it's a dangerous place to be.

In a culture spotlighting success as having 'arrived,' God seeks vessels for His glory, not those chasing personal acclaim. John the Baptist's model, 'He must increase, I must decrease," embodies obedience to God's calling - becoming less so God can become more. It's then up to God to position us by faith, wherever He chooses.

Until next time, my friend,

Tracee Padilla

In this world, wanting success tends to be much of the driving force behind what we do. In many ways it has become what defines us based on whether we succeed at something or not. But if we turn to the Word of God, while you'll read one story after another where the Pilars of our faith succeeded at feats we could never imagine experiencing, it was never about actually being successful. It came down to one thing: being obedient to the Lord.

David Wilkerson encapsulated this truth, stating, "When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed; He's calling you to obey. The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you."