When God calls a man or a woman "to" something, it is inevitable that He also calls them "away" from other things. The call "to" love God is a call "away" from the compromise of the world, away from sin, away from emotional earthquakes and away from valuing a materialistic life.
When God calls a man or a woman specifically "to" ministry, the call "away" from everything else is enormous indeed.
The call "to" ministry embraces a tandem call "away" from leisurely living, "away" from a me-first mentality, "away" from business as usual and "away" from the cares of this world. A life that has been fully laid on the glorious altar of serving God is a life that is no longer aware of self-demands and a humanistic approach to life.
The call "to" God is also a call "toward" the fruits of the Spirit, toward godly living, toward embracing a missions mindset and toward treasuring the wisdom of the Word of God. The call "to" living for Christ is a call that embraces more joy and greater fulfillment than one can imagine in the exchange.
Responding to the voice of God and then walking toward all that He is and all that He has is such a tremendous call of eternal significance that what one might be required to walk away from is a small sacrifice indeed.
Who needs earth-bound living when the promise of eternity is thrown into the deal?
Who needs self-gratification when the joy of serving others is part and parcel of the bargain?
Who needs anything else when a man or a woman knows the complete fulfillment of simply knowing Christ?!
The call "to" the riches of Christ and "away" from the deceit of the world is the most remarkable exchange in all of eternity past or yet to come! He bids us come to Him, and, as we walk toward all that He is, the things of the earth truly do grow strangely dim, don't they?!
Oh ... from time to time ... that great liar will flirtatiously call us by name ... but a child of God quickly recognizes his conniving ways and the voice of trickery that belongs to only to his sordid little self. When the pitiful and despotic enemy of love and forgiveness endeavors to deceive a sanctified man or woman to play poker with him, the Host of heavenly angels rises to their feet in one great and eternal roar! The voice of the delinquent is drowned out once again. He has no power ... no authority ... no platform ... only subterfuge.
As you respond to the call to come to Jesus and all that He is—as you say a resounding, "Yes!" to join with the Christ of Calvary in loving a world bound by sin—as you cry out for the power of the Holy Spirit to flood your humanity, don't look back!
Satan will endeavor to charm you into window-shopping with him along the materialistic avenues of culture and compromise. This defeated enemy will beguilingly place his arm around your shoulder and whisper sweet nothings into your ear in an attempt to convince you to spend more than you can afford on genuine junk. Believe me, you don't want to enter into that type of indebtedness.
When you "come," everything else must "go." But there is no sorrow in the exchange; there is only the joy of knowing that if Christ is for me than who can be against me.
"You have affirmed today that the Lord is your God and vowed to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to listen to His voice. And the Lord has affirmed today that you are His special people, just as He has promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments. He will exalt you above all nations which He has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken" (Deut. 26:17-19, MEV).
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol at justjoyministries.com.
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