The Call to Return
The call of God has me thinking and reflecting much lately. It’s something about the call of God that changes your life completely. It’s such a mysterious thing. It brings clarity; yet with it comes uncertainty. It gives definition to what wasn’t defined; yet at times you can feel lost; fumbling around trying to figure out what you're doing. It gives confidence because we have a blessed assurance, and no longer have to depend on our own strength. We are to move forth in the spirit and strength of God. Yet, insecurities lurk because we are tapping into new and unknown territory. It's something about the call that gives you a backbone and boldness; yet it keeps you humble and on your knees praying.
However, if we not careful the call can also lead us astray if we place more trust in the call than we do in God, the One who calls. The call can become an idol, where we begin to seek and serve the call rather than seek and serve the Father. God calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light because He loves us. He wants us to accept His Son - Jesus Christ - into our hearts so that we can receive salvation. Salvation encompasses more than eternal life. Salvation also encompasses a changed trajectory on our Christian journey. Because I am saved, my value system has changed because my allegiance has changed from the world to God. I am to love the LORD my God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength; and to love my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:27-28). Because I love my neighbor as myself it means that I will not hurt or harm my neighbor. I will care about my neighbor; be a voice for my neighbor; share with my neighbor; forgive; take care of my neighbor as much as it is within my power and control. Because I am saved, I have eternal life, but I can also have abundant life through Christ Jesus!
God gives us purpose. He has plans for us. He says, “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). Since the plans are God’s plans we can only imagine the great things He has in store for us! God wants us to go and tell everyone about His Son Jesus so that they can have the opportunity to know Him, and to be called out of darkness into His marvelous light. However, we can’t confuse the call of God upon our lives with a morphed mandate we’ve placed upon ourselves. The call of God has become a marketing tool to promote brands and platforms. Yes, God gives us the ability to produce wealth (Deut. 8:17-18), and He gives us gifts and talents to do so (1 Cor. 12; Matt. 25:14-30). But for many the call of God is being pimped. The call of God is being used to serve self rather than serve God. The call of God is irrevocable, meaning we can’t give it back. It is unchanging and final. IAs children of God we have to learn to flow with the call of God on our lives. We have to learn that the call is powerful, but not more powerful than God.
In the book of Hosea God says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called; the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images” (Hosea 11:1-2). God began our deliverance with the call of God to come out of Egypt. We heard His call and began to move out of our own Egypt. We moved out of places, spaces and away from people whose purpose was to keep us living beneath our potential and to keep us in bondage. As we heard the truth and became free, the call of God evolved in our lives into something more specific. Some were called to pastor; others were called to preach. Some were called to govern, while others were called to service. Some were called to write; yet others called to teach. But whatever the evolution of the call, we were never called to forsake God. It’s interesting that the more the Israelites were called, the more they went away from God. The call is the thing that helps to keep us grounded in our faith. It is the call of God that helps us to remember where we have come from, and what God has done. It is the call of God that helps us to desire more for ourselves because with God all things are possible. We were never called to leave Him, or turn our backs on Him. The call of God was not designed to draw a wedge between the Creator and the created.
God is still calling us. Revelation 2:2-4 says, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name; and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”
God sees our accomplishments. He sees our good deeds and all that we have been through. He sees our perseverance; how we continue to press forward in spite of trying times and conditions. He sees. Yet, He's calling us to return. Harken your ears to His voice. Could it be that we are doing many things, but there is one thing that He desires? Could it be that we are sacrificing in areas where we just need to surrender, and let God be God in our lives? He sees, and He calls us to return.
As 2019 approaches, we’re hearing many themes about the year 2019. The year 2019 is said to be year of Manifestation; Perfection; Purpose; Restoration. But what about 2019 being the year of Return? I pray that we are setting goals and committing our plans to God. I pray that we prosper; go after that which God has for us, and live our best lives because He does want us to live out loud! I pray that we have unspeakable joy, and experience peace and happiness beyond measure. But more than anything I pray that we examine ourselves, repent and return to God. Let’s not forsake the love we first had for God. God loves us unconditionally, but He will have no other gods before Him including the call. Harken your ear to His voice. For those who have ears hear the Word of the Lord.