One of the best animated movies I have ever seen is “Meet The Robinsons”. The clear lesson it seeks to teach to our kids and us is the very valuable principle of perseverance. To face our failures honestly and then with much grit and with a very firm faith we move forward to take hold of our the goal set before in our calling.
By gaining a firm grip on God-ordained learning experiences we have earned in our effort to determine the good, the acceptable, and the perfect will of God, we shed worldly care and carnal comfort. In our blood-bought faith walk, we have gleaned by and through our God arranged pit stops and our unavoidable ditch encounters we often find ourselves, in all this we find the perfect anecdote for our confused and broken hearts. There, in those grace-lined ditches, the Lord reminds us why we are here on His redeemed planet. Something beautiful starts to emerge, we are starting to understand why He called us out of this messy world to do something amazing for His Glory and Kingdom.
Since the Lord is always moving about the face of the earth, we must always be ready to move forward when He motions for us to take the next step in fulfilling His call on our lives. Does God need an excuse to come to the aid of His own? Is there son or daughter in His kingdom beyond His ability to save? Is there a son or daughter who has fallen so low as they can not be raised out of the most difficult of circumstances? Are there horrible fixes and hard life scenarios that are too challenging for His power to resolve? You know the answer.
So what is the point in all this? Why do we fall down on our faces in front of everybody and in turn give in to the pressure to hang back from the life we have been called to live? Why does the Lord allow His chosen ones to be embarrassed in front their families and their communities? Is it that at the heart of this issue falling down ignominiously in front of our peers is the hardness of their hearts and our inability to endure pain for Jesus? As the situation worsens, our dark moments increase so that all this hardship impacts our hearts to the point of deep hurt. How is all this craziness shaping and molding our character?
Do the expectations of others drive you to walk out of God's will for our lives? Will you run away from the pain of public humiliation and leave behind our God's blessed life? Only to land in the weak way of pleasing men. You see my dear friends, we can not please two masters, either we will serve the one and make the Lord our true master, or we will serve the other master, our emotions, who is constantly playing tricks on us as we trod through those painful and embarrassing situations our God has led us to face just to test and try us.
To move forward effectively we must wait until His lessons are received into our real life. We have to wait for Him and be trained to learn the sound of His Voice from all the other voices. If we don't learn these valuable lessons from our hardship, we will not be able to move forward; we will be knocked about, tumbling down the hill of human disappointment thinking our God is so cruel.
If don't see the divine intention of our struggles and public shame, most likely we will be forced to face the excruciating challenge of going through the “pain” process all over again. How many of you are stubborn enough to continue this process over and over again, thinking you will somehow gain your will in the end?
These are hard questions to answer but aren't they're life-critical. These questions are being held out to us and they are supposed to be answered, either in this life with, “I will do whatever you say” or in the next, “I'm sorry Jesus that I missed all those opportunities to grow”. You see, we can not hide anything from our all-seeing heavenly Father. We may think we are impressing others, but at the same time, we may at the same time be displeasing our Lord seated in heavenly places.
Which judgment would you rather face: a few frowns from your peers, or would you rather face the certain reality that one day you will be brought irresistibly before the throne of God's perfect justice, in front all the angels of God and His people, and there be forcefully asked to explain your reasons for not obeying His call on your life?
To move forward in your ministry calling, no matter how old you are, you must focus on the details of what our Lord is really trying to teach you at this point in your ministry calling. Think about how the Lord raised up a Timothy. Paul took and trained Timothy from his youth. He then laid his apostolic hands on him and anointed him to do the impossible work of spreading the message of Jesus of Nazareth. Timothy was at the same time called to be a model of Christ-likeness to a pagan world.
Listen to Paul's words in I Tim. 1:18-20, “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage a good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
Notice with me that Paul's major point of encouragement to Timothy are the prophecies that he received early in his life. In order for Timothy to move forward and perform the work he was called to do he had to look back. Don't you think it helps a preacher of the gospel in hard times to know that he received a certain and very real “call” from the Lord God to preach His message to a needy world? Also, don't you think that all the members of the body of Christ should “know” their personal call so they can do more diligently what the Spirit guides them to do?
We live in a time and place in church history where the visible church is very much in decline in our America. Where are the folks who offer to Christ's sheep very real and holy “prophecies”? In most cases, you will find that most church leaders do not depend on spiritual and true “prophecies” from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit's guidance is not considered as the most necessary part of our movement forward in expanding the kingdom of Christ. How then can a young man know what to do in a climate of just slow trickle of real prophetic utterances? How does he also keep moving forward in his calling if he is not sure if God called him, especially in times of great resistance? We must address this reality soon.
We see in history that Abraham had a burning bush, Joseph had a dream, Samuel heard directly from the Lord, David felt sweet oil pouring down his face, Solomon had a deep encounter and visitation from the Lord, and Isaiah and Ezekiel had a vision of heaven. All these men plus all the others we quote from in our preaching of His word, knew they were supposed to do something for God. It was very clear to them and we receive their words as the “word” of God.
To move forward we must know what we have been commissioned to do for the Lord. Many will come and seek deter us from the Lord's plan for our life, but we must never, I mean never forget that the Living and all Powerful God summoned us to his service. As crazy as people might think us to be, we must move forward to complete the work He was set before you.
To finish your calling will be so very difficult, but we must realize it is never too late to do the will of God! There was a king in Israel by the name of Manasseh that was exceedingly wicked for 55 years of his reign over the people of God. But toward the end of his life, the Lord, through Babylonian invasion, brought His king back to Himself. Manasseh, bound and fettered in Babylon, turned back to the Lord by a simple word of repentance. Read with me the account in 2 Chr.33:12, “Now when he (Manasseh) was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.”
Notice how the Lord moved to aid Manesseh at the point of his true heartfelt repentance, v13, “and he prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
Do you want to go back to Jerusalem today? Do you want to go back to the place of sweet rest in God's provision? Then I beseech you to repent and turn back to the God of your fathers. Just lay down and die to your past and give the Lord all of your life and future. You will be so blessed!
Finally, look with me at 2 Tim. 1:6 “Therefore (God's gift of faith that dwelt in Timothy) I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Do you feel the pathos of Paul here for his spiritual son? If Timothy would just forcefully recall to his mind the certainty of His gift calling and his faith inheritance from his mother and grandmother, he would properly move forward with God's kingdom work. This holds true for you today my dear ministry friend!
Don't give up, harken back to the day when the Lord called you, move forward believing that you are called to do a great work for Jesus and His never ending kingdom of glorious light.
In : Suffering for Christ
Tags: calling paul timothy setbacks ditch struggle hardship moving forward renewal