Monday, January 24

What on earth am I here to do?

In the background are all the usual party sounds, the bustling of glasses, coffee cups and chatter.  Music is faintly penetrating these sounds to bring an ambiance to the evening. Yet through this are the tones of Lizby talking to a couple of people.  I can’t make out exactly what she is saying, but I know it’s her voice, I know her tone, her vocal rhythm and intonations.  I can even tell the mood of the conversation.  She is so familiar to me it isn’t difficult to hear this through all the other background noises.

There is an echo in our spirit.  It’s a heavenly sound, which is why it is sometimes so quiet, it sounds different to other sounds, it is not pushy but it is insistent, it doesn’t take over, but it can consume, it isn’t a demand, but it is a call.  Inside of you has been placed purpose.

… we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this HOPE we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  Romans 8:23-25

In this same passage Paul talks also about the whole of creation groaning with a desire for freedom from its brokenness. There is a God given purpose for creation, it will one day become a new earth, filled with hope, no more groaning from disfunction.

The same is true of you and I.  There is an echo inside of us toward the spirit of hope – Jesus Himself who saved us and gave us new birth.  His DNA is in us. Or better put, our lives are now in Him.  Therefore, purpose, or calling is awakened. And we cannot escape the echo of it, like the familiar tones of one we know ringing in the background of our spirit, despite all other noises, a voice that resonates with familiarity.  He calls us by name.  He may not even need to use our name, but the call is personal and specific to you.

We love it when our name is called! Unless it’s in the middle of a class, and we’re expected to know an answer.  Or it’s with a certain tone we know is attached to a rebuke.  Or it’s because it’s our turn to step forward and get ready for the bungee jump.  But except for these we love the use of our name.  It suggests recognition, the fact that we have been seen.  We want to know we have been seen, recognised and value.

Jesus calls, with a faint echo in our hearts, it is familiar, hope filled, it is personal and we have a knowledge in us that we were born for this.

But born for what?  What exactly are we called to?  What are we called to do?

By the way, if you ever wondered what to do with this pleasant echo, Paul goes onto talk about how the Spirit intercedes for and with us and in doing so the echo rings louder and purposes become clearer.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also CALLED; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:26-30

You are called!  When you pray, allow the Holy Spirit to draw out of you the echo of that call.  It will have hope written all over it, it won’t be hard to recognise, as it is a tone different to many other voices that pressurise, demand, accuse, or even simply give a reassuring noise of happiness. Hope  cuts through these sounds.

It’s a sound that reassures firstly of who we are in Christ, that our lives are hidden in Him, transformed and made new in Him, filled with a heavenly destination because of Him, and nothing can separate us from it; it’s a sound full of promises.

… If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39

There is distinctly a sense of future call here.  But incredibly intwined in who we have become, in Christ.

In understanding our calling, we don’t just begin to understand ‘why am I here?’ but also ‘who am I?’.  The 2 big questions everyone wants an answer to right?

When we discover that it’s not just a matter that Christ has saved us and lives in us by His Spirit but that we are ‘IN HIM’ we discover our true, authentic self.   Christ in us is a revolution that brings us into Christ – we lose ourselves to Him, His image, identity, behaviours, DNA.  Christ in us is not about us becoming a better version of ourselves, or Jesus being in our pockets for a rainy day!!  It is a change of nature, becoming who we were designed to be.

So in Christ, I am clothed with Him, then I am clothed in who He is.  He is free, therefore, I am free, because I am in Christ.  If Jesus is righteous, then so am I.  If Jesus is holy, then so am I.  If Jesus is a healer, then so am I.  If Jesus is chosen and loved, then so am I.  If Jesus is purpose-filled, then so am I.

IN HIM we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11,12

We are chosen, in Him.  We have purpose, in Him. What is that purpose.  Paul says ‘in order that’ we might be for the praise of His glory.  Our purpose is to stand in Christ in such a way as to emphasise His glory.  Our lives should glorify Him.

‘In order that’, that is to suggest there is a reason, and as we know the reason makes all the difference right? 

You need to replenish the oil in the engine of your car.  But why? It’s a bit of a hassle.  Well because it stops your engine from seizing up, and you needing to pay for a new engine rather than a new can of oil.  I know from personal experience!  But that’s another story.

Knowing the reason gives us perspective and motive for something.

Our ‘reason’ – that we would be for the praise of His glory.

What does that mean? In Him your life looks completely different – holy – called out for Christ, set apart – you look as your original intent – He rejoices at the view of you, in Christ.  You cause praise to rise, and His glory to be noticed.  You ARE different.

But I have a choice as to whether I live wearing these clothes comfortably or whether I push against it. 

An attempt to blend in to this world’s culture, is an attempt to veil His glory – be normal, but unashamedly His.

So with all this said we can start to deduce that calling has 4 forms.  And it is important we understand this, because we use the word ‘calling’ to suggest a specific role we are to play, but scripture indicates something far bigger than just that.

The 4 forms aspects of our calling are:

  1. A call to Christ
  2. A call toward heaven
  3. A general call to be ‘the light of the world’
  4. A specific call to work this out in a way that matches our gifts, personality and desires

Let’s take a look at each of these.

A CALL TO CHRIST

Whilst we have been made in the image of God, there is a tendency, as humans, to want to make God in our image.  I am happy to worship a God who suits me.  I am happy to follow a God, who seems reasonable to me.  I am happy to believe a truth that makes sense to my finite, limited worldview.

But that’s not God and thats not who you are.

You are called to follow Jesus, to worship Him no matter whether you like it at times.  You are called to live by Truth regardless of whether that truth is convenient to you or not.

I could tell you that my house is 8m high.  Your response might be ‘I can believe that’. Well the truth of the matter is whether you believe it or not it is still true, my house is still 8m high.  

Your worldview does not change Truth.

The wake up call is simply this.  God doesn’t change from being who He is and the Truth about God does not change regardless of what we believe or what our personal preferences are.  He doesn’t stop existing because someone says ‘I don’t believe in God’.  He doesn’t stop loving just because someone says ‘God is mean’.  Salvation doesn’t change it’s dynamic just because someone says ‘Science is the only true enlightenment’.  Jesus still remains THE God, and the ONLY way of salvation.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus came at the point in history that He did?

A little history lesson for you, and then we will bring this right back round to your call to Christ, promise!

The Romans believed that their kingdom would last forever.  They believed Caesar was god, and that by no other name on earth could people be saved.  They would also call him the ‘king of kings’, and they would say ‘Caesar is lord’.  

This was an extremely brutal time in history for Jesus to turn up, there would be many easier moments, many moments where the message could spread faster.  Such as now, with the benefit of news channels, instant communication, instagram, YouTube and tiktok.  I’m not sure twitter would have worked for Jesus, He was the master story teller, hard to fit into 40 characters!  With all this possibility of today, He still chose 3 short years, a team of 12, a time in history where the pace was slow, and messages spread slower.

Yet at few other times in history could He set up the contrast of the Kingdom of God.  With the backdrop of Rome and of Caesar, Jesus was presenting a Kingdom that would truly last forever, presenting the true Son of God, the genuine King of Kings, spoken about before hand for centuries, the genuine Lord of all and the one which would be said of Him “there is no other name by which people can be saved”.  It was at this junction in history that everything pivots.  

I know we like to think in terms of before and afters, eg. Before WWII and after, or before the Twin Towers attack and after, or before the covid-19 pandemic and after; but really history is only divided into 1 before and after – before Christ and after – BC and AD – Before Christ and Anno domini nostri Jesu Christis (The year of our Lord). This year is the ‘year of our Lord’.  Every year is the ‘year of our Lord.’  Whilst Jesus lives on with a cause that is as advancing as ever, His Kingdom continuing to reign, Caesar is resigned to a history book and with a salad named after him!  The contrast made and the right kingdom left standing, shining, overwhelmingly brilliant, paling all earthly kingdoms into the very, very quiet shadows, to bow their knee to the one and the only.

This does not change just because someone says ‘Caesar was real, but I don’t know about Jesus’. This does not change on the days we are troubled with doubt. He remains contrasting, He remains true, there will always only be one Truth that sets someone free to be who they were born to be and do what they were born to do.

It is to this Jesus we are called.  The one who said ‘follow me’, not ‘let me follow you’.

You are called to Christ.  It’s a high calling, it’s a wonderful privilege, it’s a calling you were chosen for. It’s a calling everyone has been predestined to fulfil.  He calls into your spirit – and calls you out into a life designed by Him for you, a heavenly design, full of purpose.  You are chosen.

Our first call is to Him.  If we never discover what else we are to do on this time on earth, we know at least we are here to surrender our lives to Jesus, before all things and above all things.  We know we are to follow the echo of hope in our hearts, the echo of Jesus and serve Him alone.  We can at least live our lives to the restraint of Christ, a restraint that is brings the greatest freedom imaginable.  Because attachment to anything else enslaves us.

Jesus is our hope, it is to this hope we are called. Listen to the echo of this hope within. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:18-23 

You are His.  When you respond to the call to Christ, you have the power of Him living within you, to be and to do all that He has called you to be and to do.  This power is as transformational as death to life, broken to whole, bound to liberated, bitter to sweet.  How can this be so?  Because HE IS GOD.

I am meant to be surrendered to Him, my life is better that way because the rhythms of my being were made for this.  When I live my call to Christ it’s like an untuned piano having it’s strings put back in order and playing a sound it was always meant to play.

Surrender to Christ will require a denial of individualism, self-orientation, post modern enlightenment, but the embrace of personal happiness has actually never brought true purpose and fulfilment.  We were not wired to fulfil happiness, it’s simply an emotion not a calling.  We were not wired to find ourselves, as if there is a version of ourselves out there that is amazing without Christ.  You only find yourself in Christ.

We are called to Him.  Like putting on your favourite outfit, that seems to fit you better than any other, like finding the runners groove, the perfect blending combinations in a recipe, you were meant to belong to Him.

You are called to Christ.

So as for me I am devoted!

A CALL TOWARD HEAVEN

As we have seen already, Jesus lived with a strong sense of purpose and intentionality.  He was not shaped by situations and circumstances and worldview around Him, He shaped them.  He had His eyes forward.  What was He seeing?  What was His motivation?  What was His call?

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Jesus saw a world beyond death, a world filled with you and I.  He saw beyond the challenges of now, to the value of enduring for a goal that was heavenward.  For a multitude of people who would do likewise and reap the benefit of trusting the His work on the cross, and the power of His resurrection.

The other calling we have is a calling toward heaven.  Having the echo of heaven in your spirit is your life force, motivation, and the reason for endurance in times of extreme difficulty.  It is what causes us to live our life here on earth in perspective, being shaped, holding ourselves accountable because we live now in the shadow and perspective of eternity.

Ever played that game of stepping on shadows.  Tough to play at midday, easy at dusk when shadows are so long.  Heaven and its’ amazing presence, its’ incredible promises, casts the shadows of promises and longings we can choose to step into and chase after, live our lives in the direction of – difficult at times but necessary.  I press on.  A decision we make. Why? Its a call an echo inside of us.  All others may fall away but I won’t.  Tragedy may hit, but my call heavenward still has a hold on me.  I am called.

One of the greatest bible stories of all time shows us this.  The story of David and Goliath is set in the valley that stretches away from the Mediterranean coast line (an easy entry point for invaders) up toward the city of Jerusalem.  David, the youngest son in the family, usually occupied by shepherding the families flock of sheep, is sent by his father to visit his older brothers.  They are serving in the army. But when David arrives on the scene he has more than salami and pitta on his mind!  He hears the jaunting of the champion of the Philistine army, Goliath.  Goliath was a huge individual, and an expert at hand to hand combat especially.  Armed with a javelin, a spear and a sword.  But it was the sword of his tongue that stopped David in his tracks as Goliath taunted the Israelite army and defied God Himself. 

Now it is at this point that decisions are made based on the practice of following that echo in the heart, the call we have toward heaven.  If we live with the perspective that heaven is not just a place we are going to, but a place that influences our journey now as we head there, then we act now based on a joy that sees beyond.  David’s view of God and the purposes of Israel, overrode the immensity of the challenge before him.

He headed into battle with eyes on promise, on trust in a God who delivers, on a purpose he knew his nation was called to.  Much the same as Jesus went to the cross for the joy set before Him, beyond the cross.  Jesus endured because He saw a resurrection.

When we live called toward heaven, our prayer and action will be based on ‘May your kingdom come and you will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.  We will live to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into today’s situation.

David ran at the challenge with a sling in hand.

The question is, do we know our call toward heaven enough to run at life with this same perspective.  It mayn’t always be clear, there is always a whole lot of mystery about our future and eternity, but there is one thing perfectly clear, and that is if I am in Christ, my life is not my own and I have a destiny that is in heaven.  This is echo inside is a call.  This is how we run, this is how we fight our battles, this is how we make decisions, this is our call.  We live on purpose, for a purpose.

Paul describes in Philippians 3 how his call toward heaven effected his life now.  He describes the perspective this call brings.  He lists all the things that set his life up for a perceived advantage – the school he went to, the level of education he had, the people he was privileged to have in his world, his family line and the achievements that had given in him confidence as an achiever. Yet he makes this statement, which shows us the power of the shaping perspective of living called toward heaven.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found IN HIM, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. … our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  Philippians 3:7-14,20,21

Dear friends let’s keep our lives in perspective, the things that tend to consume us, worry us or drive us.  Let’s realise that nothing compares to the surpassing worth of being in Christ, called to Him and nothing brings greater perspective and motivation to press on than knowing we are called toward heaven.

You holding in there?  I can’t express how important this section is to being devoted.  Devoted is not motivational talk, it has its roots firmly in  the Bible.

Okay moving on to our calling to what we do.  We are called to Christ, and toward heaven, and we are called to be the light of the world.

A CALL TO BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

I have just got back from painting the wall of our living room. Well actually I painted a section of it a few days ago, but it has dried leaving it looking very patchy.  The wall has a stipple effect on it, and some of the stipple has not been put on well, these areas don’t absorb the paint so well.  When the natural light casts across the wall it looks a mess!  This was quite upsetting, annoying, frustrating … ahhh!!

Today my project was to have another go at it when I needed a break from writing for an hour. I will let you know if it worked.  

To be honest this is what my life often feels like.  The white paint has been applied but it is still looking less than perfect; and in the light of the sun it looks a mess!  Sound familiar anyone?

It’s for this reason we love the fact that ‘in Christ’ we have been made whole, holy in fact.  Our completeness comes from Him, Great news.

We kicked this section on calling off with Romans 8, where we see that we were saved by hope, this hope is clearly Jesus, not a positive mindset!  We are called to hope, to the perfect embodiment of hope, to Christ, as we have seen.

There is nothing about hope that we don’t like, need or resonate with.  With this in mind we can begin to believe that while my life may seem still blotchy, in Christ it is perfected and in Christ it becomes possible to fulfil our purpose, that our lives are for the ‘praise of His glory’. A life full of deliverance, transformation, life, power and authority.

With this in mind Jesus makes one of the most shocking statements we could ever read in scripture.  He doesn’t simply say follow me, be my disciples, you are called. No, He makes a bold declaration that is more than a slogan, it is more than a job description, it is a call, one that can only be fulfilled because He spoke it and therefore He creates the ability for it to be true.

So before we understand what our specific call is we must be sure of this call that is general to every disciple of Jesus.  Jesus puts it like this.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Hold on a minute Jesus, I thought you were the light of the world.  Well yes that’s true.  But remember all authority in heaven and earth have been given to me and I needed to return to my Father for a while, so therefore, you go.

Go where? Do what?

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  Mark 16:15

That word ‘world’ is ‘cosmos’ in the original Greek.  Which more broadly means atmospheres.  Jesus is saying go into all the atmospheres, cultures and environments you come across and there preach.

St Francis of Assisi put it like this: 

“Preach the Gospel at all times.  When necessary, use words.”

How do we preach largely without words?  We preach by how we live.  You are the light of the world.  You preach by being the light you are called to be.  

Christ in you is the hope of glory.  You shine when you live in Christ, and live deliberately out of the hope He has placed within you.

He has given all the authority and power you need to be a transforming human being by grace, to be the light now. Whenever, always actually, wherever you go.

You are the light of the world.

Remember Ephesians 1, we read earlier – you have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living in you so you can be the light. Furthermore Paul goes onto say:

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be 

head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of 

him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:23

He, in you, fills atmospheres, cultures, places around your neighbourhood, work place and city, with His presence – full, free, abundant, light – in every way possible, in every way He knows.

You are the light of the world.

In Christ you are free, alive, blessed, a child of God, you have a secure future inheritance, you are called.  You are in Christ.  

You are the light of the world.

Let your light shine.

Don’t hide it.

But Jesus doesn’t just stop at ‘lights’, He goes on to talk about cities!  “You are a city on a hill”, He says.  

In my early 20s I was hitchhiking with a friend in Israel.  Not to be recommended now.  Buses, trains or uber would be a better way to go. However, hitchhiking was more acceptable then and certainly helped the budget!  We found ourselves in Megiddo national park. In case you have a certain impression of what a national park looks like, let me explain.  This was arid, very hot, a long way from any where and not hiking territory!

Megiddo stands on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley and is probably the most famous battlefield in the world. In biblical times, Megiddo was one of three cities that guarded the Via Maris trade route. Standing near a critical mountain pass, it was the most strategic location on the well-traveled road.

With such an important location, Megiddo became a military stronghold, as well as a store city. 

Controlling Megiddo meant having enormous influence over the ancient world, and people often vied for its control. Archaeologists have discovered seventy-seven layers in Tel Megiddo, each representing a time when the city was battled for, destroyed, and rebuilt.

Megiddo served as the royal city of Canaanite king, Taanach, whom Joshua defeated (Josh. 12:21). Later, Solomon fortified Megiddo as one of his chariot cities (1 Kings 9:15). Ahaziah, king of Judah was killed there (2 Kings 9:27) and King Josiah foolishly fought Pharaoh-Neco and was killed as well (2 Chronicles 35:20-24).

The area around Megiddo is known as Armageddon, referenced in Revelation 16:13-16 as a symbol of the great battle between good and evil which will one day result in God’s triumph.

Ok, so we were stuck in Armageddon trying to hitchhike out!  Rather dramatic, I know.  But we were running short of water, and every other person hitchhiking on the same road would get the pick up and not us, as they were generally Israeli soldiers.  Who would you have picked up? I know.

We eventually got picked up by someone, but it soon became clear to us they were heading in the wrong direction; suspicious, we insisted on being let out.  The hitchhiking process started all over again.  Nearly no water, in the heat of the day, in arid Armageddon.  In our minds it couldn’t be much worse.

The story ends well.  We got picked up by an army bus and we made our way out of the valley and eventually to the town where we were staying.  You can imagine just how good that feels when you see the lights of the town, the activity, and all that it represented.

When you are in a valley looking up at a city on a hill, it’s a dream come true!  It’s the place of cafes and supermarkets, food and water are there; it’s the place of transportation, accommodation and shelter; it’s where there is life; you will find libraries, schools and other places of knowledge and wisdom.

Jesus is telling us that our lives will carry the relief from the relenting heat of this world.  People will look to you for life, wisdom, supply, strength, light and direction.  You aren’t just the light of the world, you are a city on a hill.

In Christ you are relief and hope on the street you live, the place you work in and the people you spend time with.

You are called to be the hope on every street you walk.

Back to Caesar … well at least the contrast he brings as Jesus turns up on the scene.  Caesar, representing everything fake about kingship and lordship, Jesus representing everything you would want in a lord and king.  Jesus the King of the true Kingdom that trumps all others.

The devoted serve a kingdom, the devoted serve a cause.  The devoted are committed to seeing strongholds of resistance pulled down, hearts that are open filled and the kingdom of heaven take its place in every place, to bring hope on every street.

There is a work to do and a call to fulfil.

So when we see nonchalance toward Jesus, or aggression, or apathy, or belittling, it is not simply what it seems on the surface.  A stronghold is holding that person from taking a step toward Christ.  In compassion we need to be praying for people, pulling down their strongholds, changing the atmosphere around their lives so they can more easily see Jesus.

When we are with them, let’s not simply say the expected thing, or give the ‘pat answer’ – ask questions, don’t be provoked or rise emotionally to a frustrating behaviour, remain consistent, dependable, showing love and kindness.  Occasionally asking those questions that open up their vulnerability “how did you feel about that?”, “do you mind me asking, when your parents separated how did that leave you feeling, what was your experience?”; or asking the question to expose motive and try and shift mindsets “why do you say that?” (If someone is making a statement that Jesus is irrelevant for today), or “what do you find relevant for today?”

Most importantly where you go, His presence goes.  The devoted spend time in His presence, allowing Him to refresh their call daily, place a fresh anointing on them daily, fill them afresh with His Holy Spirit, so we can bring that presence, strength, peace and joy wherever we go, and not so quick to buckle under emotional pressures.

There is a kingdom of God, it is real, and people you love and people you don’t, people you know and people you don’t are living for a different kingdom.  Let’s be devoted to the cause to reveal His kingdom.

You are the light of the world.  

You are a city on a hill.

You are the hope on your street.

YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC CALLING

I have just got back from the little gym in my garage.  I am currently enjoying the new weight lifting bar and weights I have bought.  The old bar was narrower, so less comfortable to grip, it was bent and the clasps that held the weights on could not hold them tight, so the weights clattered as I used it.  My use of this was clunky and awkward at times.  

My new bar on the other hand is wider and smoother for the grip, the weights are not metallic and the clasp is tight so there is no clattering or excessive turning of the weights. Oh and the bar is not crooked!  It’s a dream to use.  Every motion is smooth, comfortable and natural.  Except the fact they are heavy and just as difficult to lift.  I will have to work on that next!

Both bars serve the same purpose, but only one was made to fit and do the job naturally.

One of my other favourite purchases of the last couple of years has been a garden hose.  The only time I have every succumbed to an infomercial playing in a DIY store.  

Our old hose was made from a rubbery plastic material and had to be wound round a wheel.  The nature of the material meant it frequently bent and created a kink in the hose, stopping the water from flowing.  When winding it back in around the wheel it was important to make sure it wound back without any of these water-flow defying bends in it.  Whilst it did it’s job, it certainly didn’t feel like it was born for this!

The infomercial said that this new hose pipe, which was made of some sort of fabric, obviously lined with some equally flexible but waterproof material could never bend and kink. It didn’t need to be wound back round a wheel.  The snake-like item was actually not that long, UNTIL the water was turned on and then the pipe expanded.  The infomercial said it could expand from 7 to 20 meters.  When the process was finished and the water stopped flowing the hose shrunk back to it’s original compact size and could be simply left, or dropped in a bucket. 

This was too good to be true!  I had to have one.

To this day it is still one of my favourite purchases.  It does everything it was designed to do.  This garden snake in a bucket was born for this!

Same summer heat, same dry garden but only one of them seemed to be made for the job.

Every one of us was made to live out our general call in the context of a specific call.

In the beginning God said “Go forth and multiply”; we were called to populate, rule and subdue the earth.  This means having families, building cities and infrastructures, developing education systems, health services, enriching cultures, developing all the expressions of our healthy creativity.  In order to develop humanity at its’ best.  Not for its’ own end, but for the glory of God.

Everyone of us has a role to play in this purpose.  Your specific call will be a fulfilment of your gifts, personality and desires.  God wired you with these.  Therefore, it is no surprise when these come together in what you do you are fulfilled, it feels like you were made for this.

The King of Israel and Psalmist, David in Psalm 139 wonderfully tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together in our mother’s womb.  You are unique, even if your gifts and desires are the same as someone else, they are packaged in an utterly unique and wonderful personality.  

If someone were to come to me and say, you have enough musicians in your church, I would want to say to them ‘but none quite like you’.  Sounds a little cheesy in writing, but it’s entirely true.

God wired you for a specific purpose blending your personality, your gifts and your passions.  When the anointing of God comes upon this you shine – your ultimate goal is to create, shape, build, and add kingdom culture to it and be a light in it.

When we operate outside our gift set or call we can be clunky.  But when we run with our call, with the oil of the Holy Spirit, it’s like we were born for this.

The world needs us to be confident of who we are and what we are about.  

Confident of who we are, because we will be faced with all sorts of temptations to compromise this, yet it’s only when we stand confident in who we are in Christ that we can be the light of the world, a city on a hill.

Confident of what we are about, because it’s here that we will know the true fulfilment of our reason for being here, and the world will see the goodness of God through this. As we run in our call to God, our call toward heaven, our call to be the light of the world, and our call to … 

Eric Liddell was a Scottish Olympic 100 and 400 meter runner in the 1924 Olympic Games.  He later became a missionary to China until his death in a Japanese civilian internment camp in 1945.  The story of his athletics and his faith was turned into an Oscar winning movie called Chariots of Fire in 1981.

He is quoted for saying “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

What is that for you?  Engineering? Nursing? Teaching? Cleaning? Parenting? Building? Designing? Singing? Helping? Administrating and managing?

When you discover this, put your passion into it and be the best, do it as serving the Lord, do it through your unique personality and asking for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to multiply every touch you have in that sphere of influence.

You were born for this.

So as we wrap up this chapter, let me say it again, the devoted are devoted to a cause.  This cause is way bigger than any one of us, in fact, it’s not about us, but it is worth giving our lives for.  

https://whatisyourmeaning.com/