Thursday, May 6, 2010
Chapter One: God’s Higher Calling Defined
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” ~ Psalms 119:18 What does it mean to go up higher? “But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself:” ~ Psalms 4:3. First, it means we are separated to the LORD. Secondly, we are not just separated but we are separated for a purpose… the purpose of godliness for Christ. Thirdly, since we are separated this means we had to come away from some thing or some place. At the time of Salvation, God takes us off the broad way that leads to destruction. We no longer are to walk in the way of the World. We now are to be walking down a new road… growing with each step we take. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”~ 1 Peter 2:2. As a baby grows, they learn to lay on their stomach and then they wil start to roll over. From there the child will begin to push up using their knees and then they begin to craw... from there they start to learn how to walk. So as a baby begins to grow in a step by step process, so we too begin our new life as a babe; growing and then crawling and on to walking. Then there comes a time when we get to a place where we feel we don’t have to go any farther. This place is the place of complacency or mediocrity. This is a dangerous place to be. We must ask the question are we at a place of complacency or mediocrity? “But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” ~ Hebrews 10:38. This verse is not just referring to those that turn back to the world by some drastic measure. It is also referring to those who refuse to go any farther for God. In a sense, they are drawing back because they aren’t perusing God’s Best and Higher Calling. It is so easy for a Christian to remain where they are. If they remain there for too long, they end up going backwards. If a person isn’t going forward, they are going to draw back. This does not just happen to individuals but to whole families. They let circumstances overwhelm them. Until one day, someone is asking: “Hey, whatever happened to so and so.” Well, they use to sit in the front rows and then they moved to the far back rows. Until, one day, they were just gone. What happened? They let circumstances stop them from serving and began to come late to services and leave right afterward. At times it looked like they purposely avoided talking to people by making a b-line for the door. How do I know this? My family and I were there. In fact, we had let our circumstances overtake us to the point that we were up and moving! We were running away. I’ll never forget how God stopped us from going. We were all packed. Boxes were every where. My father was on the phone with his soon to be new boss, when I heard him say: “Sorry, I can’t do that, guess it’s not going to work out.” My father had been lead to believe that the small business he had would be bought out by the new boss. But the deal fell through and we ended up unpacking. The Lord knew that if we had moved that day, we would have still been living a mediocre Christian life and not God’s best plan for our lives. Are we satisfied in our comfort? “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” ~ Psalms 119:1. God wants us not to sit in our own comfort, but rather He longs for us to keep drawing near to Him. It is a place where God can have clear communion with His own. As Moses had to be called up to a mountainous place to get alone with God, so must we go up higher. Examine your life; are you in a place of comfort? Are you noticing a decline in your life from the things of God? Are you finding yourself thinking that you use to be involved and you use to serve, but are no longer involved? Maybe your still serving but you find that you just want to stay were you are and not go forward? Which way are we going to chose? Path number one: “And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD.” ~ 2 Chron. 17:6. Path number two: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” ~ Proverbs 14:12. Man is walking in a path. Do you know the song: “Just two choices on the shelf, oh what will your choices be… Pleasing God or Pleasing self, Oh, I would more like Jesus be.” We have a choice to make and there are only two paths to choose from. There is man’s way and the end of that path is death! And there is God way and the end of that path is an eternal relationship with God. These Paths may sound similar to the paths of Salvation and eternal damnation. But I am talking to Christians! My dear friends, every day you make a choice to either chose your own path, or let God direct you in His Higher Calling. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” ~ 2 Chron. 16:9a. Those whose heart is perfect toward God, these are apart of God’s Higher Calling. Why is God’s Higher Calling so important? To answer this question another question must first be proposed. What is God’s Higher Calling? It starts with Galatians 2:20 ~ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me Every Christian is called to be crucified with Christ. It is a command. But so many Christians neglect to obey. We are not supposed to settle for less then God’s best. But what is God’s best for us? God’s best is so simple and yet so many refuse to live that way, because it costs! What does it cost? The answer is Self. Another dreadful word that we often hate and it is another reason why Christians refuse to do God’s best. That word is Change. God wants to root out and adjust things in our life so that we can live the Christian life. You see, the Christian life is God’s best for us and yet we cannot live it for this life is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lives this life through us but only if we are yielded to His Holy Spirit working through us. This is God’s higher Calling and it is the only way we can live the Christian life. This higher calling isn’t just for Pastors and leaders and Sunday School teachers, but it is for all Christians! To settle for anything less then God’s Higher Calling, is to settle for a mediocre life. Not even a mediocre Christian life, because based on the definition of the Christian life… any thing below God’s Higher Calling isn’t Christian. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. Anything of the World is not apart of God’s Higher Calling. It’s not Christian! And therefore what we put in will conform us, what we wear will conform us, what we see will conform us! “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” ~ Col. 2:8. The world spoils us. It stops us from serving and from doing our duty and from obeying our heavenly Father! I see so many people that claim to be Christians living this fake, empty life, calling it Christian. I am tired of seeing people dress worldly, talk worldly, walk worldly, act worldly, and still claim to be one God’s own. But I have been there. I have been there, I have let the fashions of the day tell me what to wear. The movies tell me what to think. When I filled my mind with all this fluff, it looked so right and I did not even see how wrong it was. Then one day, I asked the LORD to show me my blind spots. I did know what would happen when I prayed that. They say don’t pray for patience for you will get trials. Well, let me tell you, if you don’t want trials, don’t pray that God will show you your blind spots. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” ~ Job 23:10. And through the trials, God enlarged my heart to have a desire to go up higher and live Christ’s Christian life. What weights are we carrying? “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” ~ Hebrews 12:1. There are many weights that we can be carrying and we just don’t see them as weights. These weights were things I considered not really having an effect on my Christian life at least not to a great extent anyway. They weren’t something that I thought was wrong, just maybe something not every Christian should do. After a friend began to point out some things she saw in my life, I began to realize that I was not where I use to be and not even close to where I should be. But thank the LORD, He was not content with my being there. He took me through some fiery trials. He wanted to root out the dross and show me what the weights that needed to be cast off. But that was just the Beginning. For at this time, I could not see nor hear God’s higher calling. It took a trial of utter exposure of the Soul and Spirit and less then a year’s time to break me and get me to a place where I would be able to be molded. Do you know that song? “Break me, take me, mold me, and make me. I want to do Thy Will, O LORD.” We sang this a lot at teen camps before a service. And I for a long time loved this song. However, there was a time in my life when this song scared me. Deep down, I knew how far I had drifted. Instead of looking at myself and realizing that I had brought me to this lower standard of living, I blamed my circumstances. And I might have been justified in doing so according to the World’s standards. For those of you who think you have arrived or that you are indeed trying to live the Christian life, Beware! Please be careful not to criticize or look down on others because their standard is lower then yours. God is possibly teaching them things that you do not know. Pray for them, for God to show them where they need to be. Beware of this attitude: “I’m not as bad as those over there, LORD!” This is not God higher calling and you are not living it, if you criticize and look down on others. If you are living a higher standard, this does not guarantee that you are living God’s higher calling. I’ve seen many a lost soul living a higher standard and they are lost and not apart of God’s higher calling. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” ~ 1 Cor. 10:12. If you are to approach someone, be prayed up. Make sure there are no beams in your eye. Never approach someone in anger or with harsh words or false facts. Be honest about yourself with that person. If God has shown you something that you are learning in your own life, share it. If you can’t share it, then don’t think you can help a person by approaching them because that is showing a Pharisee attitude. Beware of Criticism. Criticism often is nothing more then Gossip. I have criticized, thinking I was doing good and I didn’t help anyone. I hindered more then helped. Criticism is not discipleship, it destroys! Had it not been for the LORD teaching and guiding, I could have let criticism destroy my life. I wonder how many people my criticism of others has effected. For those of us who have criticized, pray for that person. Ask God to continue to work in their life and pray that what you’ve said won’t hinder the work of God. And for those of us, who have been criticized, don’t let it hinder you. Satan is going to bring back every harsh and hurtful thing that was said at the oddest times. Guard against bitterness. People are going to fail and you are going to fail others. Watch what you say… Gossip, criticism, jealousy, bitterness, backbiting, fear of other, shunning others is not apart of God’s higher calling! “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” ~ Gal. 5:21-23. Don’t criticize, Encourage! Encourage them in love. We are to have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We are to show these things to others! God can use the criticism of others, to bring about a sweet and wonderful change. You have to be willing to be broken and molded. A self pity attitude will stop you from going up Higher. This is where Satan wants you to stay, in a place where you feel that you are not worthy to serve God, so you quit! For a while, I was there. I quit on God because I let criticism stop me. Because every time I started to serve, harsh words from the past would come echoing back in. I am thankful for the trials now, because had I not gone through them, I would not be hearing God’s call to go up Higher! I pray that God will give you the ears needed to hear God’s Higher Calling. There is no other Christian life to live then that of God’s Higher Calling. There will be those that want you to remain as you are, and you might lose their friendship. But I ask you this, what is more important: Your friends’ opinions or God’s great call for your life?