Following God is essential to our relationship with Him. But the fact of the matter is many of us forget this basic truth and begin to lead our own lives as though God were an appendage to our lives not our Lord and leader. God is not our copilot. He is more like an air traffic controller. He gives the directions and instructions. And if we want to arrive at destination blessing, we would be wise to follow His instructions.
At the beginning of a new year, we are psychologically predisposed to reflect on our current trajectory. So, I am preaching about this subject while we are more likely to let it sink in. Today we will consider our forefather, Abraham, as he followed God, and explore the principles revealed in his story. I will also weave in a little bit of my own journey so that you can reflect on your journey and refresh your sense of calling and being a part of Gods master plan.
Read Genesis 12:1-5
God talks. He communicates.
He wants us to know Him and His call. (v1) We each have one that God has delegated to us.
He will ask you to do stuff.
He calls us to faith that trusts in His character, that He is good, holy and trustworthy. He also asks for costly obedience. I dont just mean He is asking you to behave and be good and go to church. No, He is asking for a whole lot more. (v1)
Abraham had an inheritance in Haran, family in Haran, community in Haran and land in Haran. God asked Abraham to give up the comfort and security of home in order to pursue his calling, his lifes purpose. Look at what Barnabas says about Abraham in Hebrews 11:8-10. Abraham was willing to embrace the drama of adventure in pursuit of a reward bigger than earth could containa reward from God.
Life has two roads. Living for self or living for something greater than self. Living for self is small and all too quickly becomes boring. People are looking for something to live for. Some focus on environmental preservation or art or philanthropy, some focus on religion, in the negative sense; obey all the rules so when this is all finally over God owes me heaven, but thats not what Hes after. He wants you to take His hand and follow. He has a great plan that will give you purpose. So, when God asks you to do stuff, and HE will, trust His character. The call will cost you, but His reward is more than adequate.
God rarely tells you as much as you would like to know. (v1)
God says, Leave and Ill show you where we are going.
We can practice hearing God.
Terah heard Gods call before (Ge 11:31). Abraham knew they had stopped short. I believe he recognized this familiar instruction (v5). He sets out for Canaan. Even though God only said the land I will show you.
He spoke to Abraham, but He often gives us non-verbal cues. How God communicates:
Cumulative circumstantial guidance
Because He varies how He communicates we need to be sensitive to His directions or we could miss it.
Gods plan is about the long term.
Gods plan (arent you glad someone has one) is about blessing us and others in the long term. Each of us is part of Gods several millennia long plan of salvation. You and I are a continuation of the work of Noah (where would we be without the faith of Noah), Isaiah and Philip and millions of others. Not only are we saved, but He is entrusting you and me with the eternal destiny of many people (vs2-3).
Gods timing is His alone. (v4)
God waits until Abraham is too old (75).
He tells you way too early and then it takes much too long to come to pass. Consider King David. Anointed king at about 17 then runs for his life for 13 years. Isnt it great to be a king! David must have thought God why didnt You just anoint me King when I was thirty?
He has asked me to pioneer a satellite campus and pastor the campus. Ten years ago I had never even heard of a video venue with a campus pastor. (Actually, the first time I heard about the concept it ticked me off I felt held back. God does have a sense of humor.) If God had told me that ten years ago I would have been clueless what He meant. But patience with Gods timing can serve us very well. Remember its His plan so all you have to do is follow. I take great comfort in this fact. When the big decisions come along I just say to myself and then to Him, Its your plan! What are we supposed to do now?
All of you are already an answer to prayer and you responded to His nudge. You gave over $23,500 in the Christmas Eve offering for the satellite/video venue campus. Its Gods idea lets just follow and see what our part is in His plan. I dont know how big this step will be or how long it will be for the fruit to become ripe. I just know He told me to take a step.
Its a new year, 2011. So I ask you. How is He directing you?
What has God said to you?
Are you listening for Him?
What step could you take next (even a really small one) to move ahead or to reinvigorate your call? Even God cannot steer a parked car.
Lets review the principles.
1) Listen for God. Expect Him to communicate.
2) He will ask you to do stuff.
3) He probably wont tell you as much as you would like to hear.
4) Practice listening for Him. (MTC & Thursday nights)
5) Gods plan is long term.
6) Take a step. One cannot steer a parked car.
7) Keep on stepping. Be patient with His process.