March 30, 2004

Following the Call of God

On many occasions, I have discussed the topic of following the call of God with my friends, my pears, my elders. This is a hard thing to do many times, and it requires many things. First of all, it requires a clear call.

What do I mean by a clear call? I mean that in order to follow the call of God, you have to know what it is. This seems very obvious and maybe oversimplified, but the truth is this: that many people try to follow a call that never got called, and when the hard times come (and they will) and you get put to the test, you have nothing to fall back on to keep you true to the call. I have talked to some people, and heard of many more that make commitments to do this or do that, or in some cases not do this or that, and they "submit" to the call to go here and there, yet when the time comes to really test the commitment, they flunk out. There is a constant struggle to wrongly identify what I want as a call from God, in order to truly follow the Call of God, we must be sure that we test these things to correctly determine that we are not incorrectly labelling our plans as God's plans. I know in my case, I find this principle played out in several aspects of my life. I will share an example, I hate school. I love to learn, but I hate the institutional education method. It grinds at me, and burns me out, and drags me down. I never wanted to go to college, but here I am none the less. Why? Why do something that bothers me so much? Simple, I received a very clear call from God to go to school. I put it to the test and it passed, and now despite the fact that I go through repeated burn outs, and fits of apathy, frustrations and even anger over my ordeals at school, I continue to persevere. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that I am where I need to be, doing the thing I am supposed to be doing, when I am supposed to be there doing it. A clear call, it will keep you going when nothing else seems to make sense. This is probably the most important thing when it comes to following the call of God.

The next thing that is important to following the call of God is listening for it. You may wonder why I mention this second to the call itself. Well, writer’s prerogative. But in all seriousness, God does not wait for us to listen for Him to call. Many times God has to get our attention first. His call is not dependant on anything, especially us; however, in order to follow it, we must eventually hear it. Many times I catch myself wondering what God is planning and doing here and there, and I then catch myself surmising this and that only to stop and almost as if I can hear it, "Haha, if you want to know what God is doing, you have only to stop and listen to Him telling you. Stop talking and allow Him to speak." This may seem childish to some, and too spectacular to others, but... oh, well. The Bible refers to Elijah hearing the Voice of God, but it was not in a form that commanded your attention, it was a still small voice. A voice that you had to listen attentively for in order to hear. If you want to follow the Call of God in your life, you need to open the lines of communication and start listening, not for what you want to hear, but for what He is trying to tell you.

Third point on the outline, for anyone who is trying to take notes, is discipline. Yes, the infamous D word. We all want to have it, but no one wants to get it, and even less want to keep it. It is work, plain and simple work. Hard work, and we are typically selfish and lazy people. But without it, you can hear the call, test it and determine it to be a clear call, but just not have the gumption to get up and go. And should you go, when you get tested you will fail. Discipline is what makes it work. It is what keeps your heart in line when it wants to tie you up in pretzels over that "one" person, or that "great" opportunity, or that "special" buy, etc.... Do not be deceived, life is hard. It's tough, and if it isn't for you yet, don't hold your breath, cause it will be. Without discipline no commitment lasts.

And last, but definitely (to risk sounding cliche-ish) not least is trust. Did you know worry is a sin? It isn't a sign of care; it's a sign of distrust. Think about it. The Bible never said not to care, but it did say "be anxious for nothing... my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4) Over and over in my experience, God has tested my faith by causing me to trust his timing. He has never failed me. I think the biggest test is when it comes to things we hold important, like the person we will eventually marry, or if we will even marry. Or that job that we "need" to have to live. For my brother, the test is money. Where will the money come from to support his family? For myself, I face this question sometimes. How will I pay for my school and still fulfill my desire to live debt free. I have to know that God will supply all my needs according to His riches and in His timing, and I may not know how and when until it is done. Hehe, and then there is the crazy thing about relationships. See, I am not allowed to have one yet. Long ago, I received a call from God to sanctify a section of my time (till I graduate college) to establish my relationship with Him. When I was called to this commitment, it was easy. Then I came to college. Life got a little harder then, but still I hold true to that commitment and it is possible because I (1) received a clear call, (2) was and am listening to God's voice, (3) practice discipline, and (4) trust God's timing and providence to work out the details better than I can.

All that to say this: Following the Call of God is not easy; it requires that we give all of ourselves to Him without reservation. Life will get hard, and we will be faced with times when we are tempted to compromise our convictions, but remember what you believe is acted out by your behavior -- if you do not behave in the manner you profess to believe, you do not believe what you profess. It is not always the right answer to quit and start new somewhere else, sometimes you have to be part of the solution in order to not be part of the problem. And it is never too late to keep going, everybody makes mistakes, don't let them hinder you, instead learn from them and use them to help you.

tayl, and God bless.

Posted by GodzScout at March 30, 2004 03:04 AM