Friday, September 14, 2007

Our Calling

The book of Jeremiah has been so important to me in the last couple of years. It has called me back to the side of my Father I am not sure how many times. Anyway, after I finished studying this morning I felt really drawn to several points in Jeremiah 17. I believe based on the word of God that as New Testament believers you and I have a calling in Christ. We are called to know Him and make Him known and of course we are called to "go and make disciples" but I believe that we have a "promised land" that God wants us to operate in. Let me go into a little story real quick. Back when Beth Moore came to Birmingham she spoke on "Making a Pact for High Impact For This Generation." Well, she told us to go home and pray about where we had been in our past, where we were now with God, and where we saw ourselves going on with God (more like what is the desire of our hearts with the way that God has gifted us spiritually speaking). So I went home that Friday night and did my homework. That morning it was POURING and I mean pouring down rain, and I lost my tickets and everything to the event. I later found them but I think the enemy wanted to do anything to keep me from getting there. So that morning I prayed and asked the Lord to put something on my heart to pray regarding the calling that I felt He had placed on my life. Nothing mystical but I just wanted His confirmation and I feel that I was prompted by Him to pray that prayer. So I prayed that if I was called to a teaching ministry that she would specifically call me out of the crowd of 18,000 women and that I would know that it was Him calling me to that. I felt Him say in my spirit "ask anything in my Name child and I will do it!" So anyway, Beth was teaching on Ephesians and how much we matter to God. She was in the middle of talking about how we think God does not notice us and how He does notice us...we matter to Him...then she sees me and says "you are the one that lost the baby..." she calls me out of the crowd and I told everyone what I had prayed. It cracked me up because I knew already that God was going to answer my prayer so much so that I made sure that I looked cute just in case she called me out! LOL! Anyway, the point is...God wants us to walk in His way and live and operate effectually in the area of our calling. God is still maturing me and growing me for that purpose but He confirmed His plan for me that day. Now what I want to get to is the scripture in Jer 17. and several points that I thought of when I was reading this morning: 1. we do have a calling in Christ 2. We can forfeit that calling 3. What can we do to get back on track with God after we have blown it? 4. How can we stay operating effectively where God has called us?

Let's face it we live in a fallen world and if you are like me you are prone to leave the God that you love. I can not tell you how many times I have strayed from the God I love. The only way we are going to be made right with God is to return to Him. He is the only one that can truly cure us of our our backsliding. The things we thought would cure us I am sure we found out the hard way that they were temporary and they ended up having a strong hold on us that left us more desperate than before. So He beckons us to come to Him and return and He will cure us. God will use anything to get us to return to Him. He is loving but He is just. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve but our sins still have repercussions or we would never learn.

Jeremiah 3:22a
22 "Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding."

The word for backsliding here is a word meaning waywardness or apostasy. The Old Testament speaks over and over of the Israelites being delivered and the great things that God did for them and yet they wandered and bowed down to idols and left God to in essence worship the enemy through their idolatry.

God offers the same invitation to us to return to Him. We will be lovingly disciplined yet He wants us to return.

Jeremiah 4:1
1 "If you will return, O Israel,
return to me,"
declares the LORD.
"If you put your detestable idols out of my sight
and no longer go astray,

I believe we need to do the same thing that the Lord called them to do in Jeremiah 4:1. Put the detestable idols out of His sight. Rid ourselves of the things that have separated us from our God. We can't be too drastic or serious when it comes to this. I was reading last night in Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. Verse 25 really spoke volumes to me:
25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
I really believe that so much of our own idolatry is the fact that we look around and say "you know what God you are holding out on us. In my marriage God you are holding out on is not giving me what I need. Lord, this waiting on You in my finances and denying myself, it is not working. This serving You and giving up my time is getting me nowhere." Would you agree? Think about it. In your own efforts to help yourself out by meeting your own temporary lusts where you focused on what was seen or what was unseen? I think that is what the rich man was about in Luke 16. He was going to live for himself, bow to this world, he was his own god, and that is the way it was going to be. In the end...he forfeited EVERYTHING. You and I will forfeit blessing, reward, and living in the full measure of our calling if we choose to bow down to the idols and gratify self. It starts out small and then we have a giant on our hands that we can no longer maintain. It is just the way sin is. We think we can just manage it and then we have a beast on our hands.
One thing I have had a hard time remembering after I have blown it is that I am no longer a slave to sin. I do not have to continue to live the way I did before I was redeemed. I was bought at a price and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Idolatry and going at fulfilling our desires on our own=shame (every time)

Romans 6:20-22
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Now let me see if I can get on to Jeremiah 17 some time today!

You and I have a calling in Christ. The enemy will do everything he can to keep you and me from operating and fulfilling our calling!

Here are a few verses supporting a calling:

Ephesians 4:1
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

2 Thessalonians 1:11
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.

Hebrews 3:1
[ Jesus Greater Than Moses ] Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

The word calling in Ephesian 4:1 is "Klesis- meaning to call, invitation, a call, a bid, or summons. A vocation, employment...."
So you and I have a literal vocation as ambassadors of The Christ. I know from experience that you will not find true satisfaction and purpose until you are fulfilling your vocation. For whatever reason I am in a season of waiting. I am not serving other than facilitating a bible study but I am having to trust and wait on Him because I am one to pry open a door that He may not mean for me to take. I began to get proud and find my worth in Jenny the Sunday school teacher instead of my identity being hidden in Him. My worth began to be tied up in what I did instead of who I was in Christ so I know the Lord called me out to wait on Him and see that I could grow and learn and my worth was not tied up in a class.

I have not even gotten started on this...but I have got to go start getting ready for work. boo! I am going to resume when I get ready :). I can really ramble on!


He Knows My Name said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stacey said...

Jenny - you are an absoulutely amazing woman of the Lord. Whenever you open your mouth the word is proclaimed. I am so excited to have the opportunity to be in your bible study group!!

Emily said...

hey! thankyou so much for your post! it really spoke to me in so many ways. God has really begun to teach me that my worth is not tied up in what I do but in who He is. God is who He is regardless of what I do and my focus needs to be on Him and not on me. I really felt strongly for years the call to teach. I think I was trying to do the immediate thing when God knew I needed a lot of growing, maturing etc... He has put that on hold for me and I have been wondering if I was dreaming all of that or very mistaken. Lately He has given me word after word about our callings and reminding me of what He has said. I am starting to see that I need the wait. I am trusting Him now so much more.
Praying for you Jenny! You are truly a blessing and I am thankful for your friendship!