The Call of God - Part 1
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." - The Apostle Paul
Some thirty years ago I was reading Jeremiah 8:20, 21 which says, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt . . ." The verses seemed to jump off the page, but at the time I did not know why. Several months later I was reading Luke 8 when I came to verse 39 - "Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. . . ."Again, it was as if the verses slapped me in the face, but why?
These were sacred moments for me so I will not dwell on them other than to say God was speaking to me by His Holy Spirit through His holy Word. He was setting the direction for the rest of my life. He was calling me back to the land of my people; to return to my own house and share the good news of Jesus Christ in the town where I grew up.
God calls each of us to a work that only we as an individual can do. No one else can do the work that God called me to do, nor can I do the work God called you to do. We each have an important task to accomplish for the Lord while there is yet time. Modecai tells Esther when urging her to follow the will of God for her life, ". . . thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?:
We think of the call of God as relating to full-time Christian service..So, you say, "This doesn't apply to me." My friend, if you name the Name of Christ, you are involved in full-time Christian service whether you like it or not. So where do you stand? Do you know what your calling is in life? Are you willing to accept it?
As pointed out in Esther, everyone is called of God to a particular task for a particular situation at a particular time. Esther's task was to save her people. This was her destiny appointed to and decided for her in eternity past. We all have a destiny to fulfill. Are you fulfilling yours? Do you know what it is? That is the direction we are headed in, so let's go.
The General Call
Many Christians today are frustrated, unfulfilled, and anxious because they miss the purpose for their lives. They do not listen to the still, small voice of the Lord, but rather try to achieve their fleshly desires in their own strength. Before you can realize God's specific will and call for your life you must come to terms with God;s general will. Isaiah 43:7 gives us His general will for every born-again Christian. We read, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
First things first - Is God getting the glory out of your life? Do you seek to honor Him in all you think, do, and say? Actions speak louder than words. Are you walking the talk, or just hypocritically talking? If God is not glorified in your life, you can forget the rest until you get things right with Him.
- Now, more of God's general will.
Colossians 3:15 gives us this command - "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." We are all called to peace. This is God's will for every Christian. Notice too, that we are to be thankful. Not every situation may be good, but God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28) when we follow in His steps.
Romans 1:7 gives us this information concerning the general call of God's children - "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." We also see in this verse that peace comes from God Himself. It is useless to look for it anywhere else. God is the God of all peace (Philippians 4:7).
The word saints in this verse means one that is pure, morally blameless. We could use the word holy. Peter gives us that same idea in I Peter 1:15 as he mentions that we are called to be holy. So, are you at peace with God, and are you living a holy life?
. . . Oh, is that so . . . No one can live a holy life until we get to Heaven? I hear the question, but that is the wrong answer. In its simplest form holiness means obedience. As long as you are obedient to the Lord, you are holy. At any given moment of any given day you can be holy or unholy. It is your choice.
Peter continues to uncover God's general call to all Christians in I Peter 2:9 as he writes, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
You have been called into the marvelous Light of the Lord Jesus. Truly this is a blessing. Are you taking it for granted? Are you living in the Light? It is your destiny to do so.
Giving God the glory in life is wonderful! Possessing God's peace is wonderful! Living a godly, pure life is great! Walking in the Light is precious! But the general will of God does not stop there.
Mark 8:34 gives us this not so positive characteristic of the call of God, ". . . he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Again, Peter tells us in I Peter 2:21, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Each and every child of God is called to suffer. Do not fight it. Just accept it. If you are living for Christ, suffering will come: If you have never experienced suffering for the cause of Christ, it may be because you have not taken up your cross. You have not dedicated your life to serving Jesus no matter the cost.l
Luke gives us some very hard lessons as to what it means to be a disciple - "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple . . . So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26, 27, 33). We live in a day when everyone wants to add Jesus to their life. My friend, Jesus is to be our life, not just a mere add-on. It will cost you something to follow Jesus, but this is what you have been called to.
We will examine elements of God's specific call next time so stay tuned.