Following the Call of God
Rev. Mark Hiehle
Are you following the Call of God in your life? Are you realizing the potential of the purpose for which you were created? These are questions that spark interest and intrigue in almost everyone’s mind because we want to be part of something bigger than we are and something that really matters. The book by Rick Warren entitled, “The Purpose Driven Life” testifies to this fact as it set phenomenal records on the New York Best Sellers list. It is true; each of us is unique and created for a purpose. It is also true that the Lord desires to use you to make a dramatic difference. Just as Mordecai said to Esther in Esther 4:1, “…who knows that you are not where you are today for such a time as this?” Consider also the truth found in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that says to us, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” This means that our Heavenly Father is looking for people to use. He is looking for people whom He can call to do a special task and fulfill a special mission. Is that your desire – to be used in a powerful way for His purposes?
God’s call is always unique for each person, but there are benchmarks that are consistent that you can count on being true for every person as well. They are both scriptural and practical as you seek to know God’s call upon your life. Consider the following principals found in the calling of Saul and how they relate to your life too.
With your Bible in hand, discover with me the process of following God’s call in your life. In 1 Samuel chapter 9 and following, the account of the calling of Israel’s first king is recorded. As chapter 9 begins to unfold in verses 1-7, we are told that Saul was the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Saul’s father had sent him on a task to recover donkeys that had wandered away from home. It was during the journey to find the lost donkeys that the Lord intervenes into the everyday mundane of life in order to call Saul to something extraordinary. In researching this topic Biblically, and in the testimonies of countless others, this foundational truth has been reiterated over and over again.
God uses ordinary people and He calls them
in the midst of the ordinary duties of life.
It was during the mundane, non glamorous task of donkey duty that God invaded Saul’s life and set him on a path of divine design. The same is or will be true for you. It will be during the regular everyday of living that you will be called to undertake a God ordained mission. Therefore, don’t become discouraged if you are in the midst of what you might consider donkey duty, but seek the Lord in the middle of your present tasks for His direction and leading. In verse 5, Saul was ready to give up the search and return home. It was then that the servant who was with Saul suggested that before they quit, they ask for God’s direction. May I encourage you to do the same? Ministry can be very draining and exhausting as you deal with the daily grind of problems and pressures. It is easy to begin to work in your own strength and then become discouraged. When you feel like quitting, step back and recommit your way to the Lord. Remember that He is your strength, provider and defense. He will not only make your path straight, but He will take you to new places where you will experience Him in ways you have never dreamed possible. How do we know that this is true? Because God is working behind the scenes.
God moves ahead of us, setting the stage, preparing the way.
In verse 15 of chapter 9, we are told that the day before Saul was to meet Samuel the Prophet, the Lord had spoken to Samuel and revealed His plan concerning Saul. In the same way, the Lord is working even now with you in mind. It could be that an answer to prayer has not arrived because the time is not yet right, or the pieces of the divine puzzle have not yet been fully assembled. God’s timing is always perfect – never early and never late. So many times in my own life as I have looked back I could trace the hand of God. The problem is that many times we are impatient because we can not see our future clearly now. Our real need is to walk by faith and trust the Lord for the details, and the doors to open in His perfect timing. Since God’s desire is to use you and to bless your faith, resist the temptation to run ahead of him, but rely upon His ability to set the stage for your role to be played in His great plan.
God starts with a vision and dream
As I read the account of this stage of Saul’s life and call, I am intrigued at the statement Samuel made to him in verse 19. From the witness here and my own experience, it is fascinating to understand that as God is preparing to call us to take part in His plan; He first plants a dream into our heart and mind. Samuel told Saul that before he would let him return home, in the morning, “I will tell you all that is in your heart.” Before God harvests, he first plants a seed. The same is true in us. Has God given you a dream? Before a clear clarion call is realized, a whisper of a dream and vision is imagined in the heart. When God’s call is heard, it is the fulfillment of a desire planted in the heart. The question then for us is, will we embrace the call or recoil from it. The typical response is the same as the one Saul expressed in verse 21. Because God’s call is always more than we can fulfill on our own, or larger than we can handle, we believe that we are unworthy and unable. The truth however is that God is working before us – for such a time as this. This truth is seen in verses 22-24. God knows what he is doing and it is by grace that we are chosen. I love the definition of grace that Rick Warren gives: “Grace is God, knowing every stupid thing I’ve ever done, and every stupid thing I will ever do, but He chose me anyway.”
God will speak personally to you
In verse 27 Samuel told Saul that he had a message from God for him. The Lord does not want you to miss hearing Him or knowing Him personally. Therefore, He will do whatever is necessary to communicate to you. It is also important to understand that when the Lord wants something accomplished or pursued, He has never first called a committee or group, but He has spoken to one person. He starts with one. He will confirm His call, but He will begin by speaking to an individual. The Lord will place His vision into the heart of one person who will then cast that vision before others. As others hear from the Lord as well, and the vision is passed on, it becomes like a fire burning in the soul. With the uniting of burning hearts, the Lord blows across them and the fire spreads to those nearby and they catch the fire. The vision becomes like a prairie fire that can not be contained. The spark that ignited the blaze however started in one person’s heart and mind. Is God speaking to you? Has He given you a vision – a call to follow? His desire is that you will embrace that call, follow His lead and share the dream. In turn, He will open new doors and confirm His call to you.
God will confirm the call
When the Lord gives a call, He will also confirm that call in order for you to be encouraged. Think of all those in scripture that the Lord gave a call to and then continued to encourage them in that call. Examples would include, Moses, Jeremiah, David, Mary, the Disciples, and Paul. With each of them the Lord reaffirmed their call and He brought others along side them to stand with them and encourage them in their call. Here too, the Lord confirmed His call to Saul in chapter 10 verses 1-5. The call was confirmed in order for Saul to know that the call was real. As Saul followed the call, the Lord then changed him as well.
God will anoint you to fulfill His call
The key to success in fulfilling the call that the Lord gives is not found in your ability, gifts or talents, but God’s Spirit at work through you. In order for us to be effective for God’s service, we must be changed. That change only comes by the Lord’s touch on our lives. In other words, we need God’s anointing because without it we will be powerless. It is the anointing that makes the difference. Once we are anointed, the Spirit of God will not only lead and guide us, but we will witness His hand going before us to open doors, breakdown strongholds and skillfully use us with power and effectiveness. This is what took place with Saul in verse 9. It is important to also note that sometimes, it will still take time for the full promise of God to be realized. Saul was instructed in verse 8 to wait even though the promise was given. We too need to hold onto the dream while patiently waiting for the doors to open and the timing to be right. Even though Abraham was not perfect, he held onto the promise of a child and believed God would be faithful even in the midst of overwhelming odds.
There will be opposition to the Call
Despite the working of God in Saul’s life, there was opposition to the call on his life, just as there will be for us too. Whenever a light is turned on in the dark, bugs are also drawn to the light. As Saul was swept along by the Spirit, scoffers ridiculed his transformation in verses 11-12. There will be those who will listen to your God given dream and seek to kill that vision. They will be skeptical of the call and try to get you to give up the dream. When this happens, do not do what Saul did in verses 14-16 by not taking ownership of the call. Continue to speak of the dream and share your passion to follow it. If you do not, you will allow the opposition to intimidate you and then the thoughts of your past will paralyze you. The feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness will overwhelm you and you will run from your call. For Saul, it was seen played out as he was found hiding among the baggage when it came time to answer the call publicly. When you have a call on your life, how can you follow that call in the midst of opposition?
Following the Call
As you desire to experience and embrace God’s call, follow these principles of scripture and “Go ALL Out.” First, in 10:6 – Allow the call to change you. Wait for God’s timing and His anointing just as the disciples waited for the day of Pentecost. Once the anointing came, God’s power was evident and unstoppable. Second, in 10:7 – Let the Lord Lead you. When you are following the call, the promise is that God will be with you, so be creative, bold and aggressive. Take steps of faith and be willing to risk it all as you pursue the dream. You will be amazed at the doors the Lord will open and the opportunities that will become available. Thirdly, Leave the baggage. Leave the baggage of your past that weighs you down behind. It is a new day and the old you is gone. You are where you are for such a time as this, so learn from your past and move ahead with confidence in God’s forgiveness, power and provision. Go “ALL” out in following the call for no one can answer that call but you.
Rev. Mark Hiehle is the Executive Director of the Sarasota Medical Pregnancy Center in Sarasota, FL. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 941-330-CARE.