Thursday, October 15, 2015

Responding to God's Call

God has placed a calling on YOUR life.  Every single person is a part of God's plan to further the kingdom.  Every. Single. Person.  Yes, that means you.

God didn't call you to just sit in a church pew every Sunday.  He didn't call you to pray a couple of times a week.  He didn't call you to sit on a board at your church.  He didn't call you to make sure your bible sits out on the coffee table.  

While all of those things are good and may be a part of the call He has placed on your life....

God has called YOU to go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all He has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).  

That calling looks different for every person.  But that is the ultimate goal of the calling that has been placed upon each of our lives - to make disciples, to further the kingdom.  By entering into a relationship with Christ, you are accepting your responsibility in furthering the kingdom.

So now that you are aware that you have been called to make disciples of every nation, how will you respond?

Let's turn to Genesis 12 for some inspiration.

In chapter 11, we are first introduced to Abram (aka Abraham), briefly, through a genealogy.  The very first verse of chapter 12, we see that God has called Abram:

1 Now the Lord said to Abram,
'Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;

4 So Abram went forth as the Lord has spoken to him....

The Lord spoke and Abram obeyed.  Plain and simple.  Obedience is the best way to respond to God's call.  You could try and avoid what the Lord has called you to, as Jonah did (see the Book of Jonah), or you can obey.  "The Lord said to...Go forth....So Abram went forth...."

Do you respond to God's call like that?  Are you willing to leave where you are (comfort zone, physical location, emotional state, etc.) in order to follow the plan God has for you?  Or are you dragging your feet?

I know that You have called me to go and make disciples Lord, but that is waaaaay out of my comfort zone.  Give me a couple of years and then maybe I will be ready.  I need time to prepare myself.  

I know I told You I would be ready in a couple of years, but I'm just so busy right now.  With my new job and two kids, I barely have time for myself let alone the chance to go out and talk to other people.  Just wait for work to slow down.

Yeah, I'm working part time now.  But I'm just not ready to go, Lord.  Isn't coming to church on Sunday good enough for You?  I read my Bible and pray.  I even tithe and help out at dinners!  Maybe another time....  There are other people more equipped than I am.  If anyone knew what I had done in my past....  Lord, call someone else.  This isn't for me.

Sound familiar?  What if Abram had responded that way??  He may never have become Abraham.  And Abraham is the father of Israel!!  An entire nation!

Responding to God's call does not just affect you, it affects generations to come!  You are living a story that will outlast you!  In verse 7, the Lord tells Abram, who is childless at the time, that he will give this land (Canaan) to his descendants.  God is not just looking out for this generation but also for the next and the next and....well, you get the picture.  You must think bigger than yourself.

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But maybe you aren't qualified.  Maybe you don't fit "the bill."  You have some horrible sin in your past that people would hold against you.  You can't make disciples!  You have never read a theology book.  And you certainly don't want to speak in public.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called"?

Abram, most certainly was not perfect.  In fact, in the very same chapter we see him diligently obey God's call to "go," we also see him sin.

11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, 'See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live, 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you."

Abram lied to Pharaoh about his wife!!  She was taken into Pharaoh's house (Admittedly, Sarai is just as much to blame here...)!  Abram messed up.  And this is seen immediately after he responded to God's call in obedience.  This is so very intentional!  God wants us to see that we do not have to be perfect to follow the Lord's leading.  He still used Abram, and He will still use you!

Let's back up for a moment.  Do you remember when I said that your response to God's call isn't just about you?  It affects other people and generations to come.  Sin is the exact same way.  It does not just affect you!

17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.  18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, 'What is this you have done to me?  Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?'

Because of Abram (and Sarai's) lie, the Lord struck Pharaoh's house with plagues!  Abram's sin immediately had an effect on other people.  And I think it is safe to assume that some people could have died from this plague, which means that generations there after were affected.

Sometimes our response to God's call, when it is not obedience, is sin.  James 4:17 reads, "Therefore, to one who knows the right things to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."  If you know the right thing to do and you don't do it, it is a sin.

And that  sin doesn't just affect you.  It affects the people around you and generations to come.

How will you respond to God's call today?

Will you ignore Him?  Pretend like you didn't hear?  Make up an excuse as to why you shouldn't respond?

Or will you obey?

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