By The Will Of God
I have been thinking about this little phrase lately, "by the will of God". It is rich with meaning, and rife with misuse. I have heard over the years people claim to do this or that because they have had a "word" from the Lord. Too often their claims are inconsistent with a holy life or in contrast to the scriptures.
Yet, the phrase can't be dismissed as meaningless. We can't set it aside for fear that it is misused by others. There are legitimate times when God speaks to us through his word, a sermon, worship, or the exhortation of a friend. We have to be open to hearing what the Spirit whispers to our hearts.
In Colossians 1:1 Paul makes it clear that he is an Apostle by God's will. There were those in the church who questioned his credentials for ministry. He had, after all, been a fierce persecutor of the church. But Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. God had literally knocked him off his feet, blinded him, and called him by name. There was no way that Paul was going to let anyone dismiss his call to ministry.
It was that clear call from God that anchored him in the worst of times, and grounded him in the best. His call was according to the will of God, and to do otherwise was disobedience. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel."
There have been moments in my life that I have sensed a clear call from God. There have also been times where that call was hidden behind a cloud of pain and confusion. But God never changes, and he never takes his hands off those he has called for His purpose. It is that call in my life that I have recently been reflecting on.
When I was older my mom recounted a time when I was only five years old. We were driving down a side road in Bradenton, Florida. Stopping at an intersection I pointed to a church and said, "I'm going to have one of those some day." Who would have known that as a senior in High School God would open my eyes to the gospel, direct me to Bible College, prepare for me a wonderful spouse, and call me into ministry. Jesus knew all along.
There have been ups and downs over the course of the years, but God has kept me anchored and grounded. Over the past year and half I have stepped out of full time ministry, an opportunity to rest and reflect. But circumstances have converged, and God's promoting is reminding me again of His call. Pray for me and Rebecca as we engage God for His direction.
Each of us who believe have been called, created, saved for specific works of service. We must listen and respond to God's gentle prompting to fulfill His will in our lives. To do otherwise is disobedience. I am praying for you, my dear friends in the Lord, that you will open your hearts. There may have been pain or confusion clouding God's will for you. Allow him to shine the light of his healing and bring you back to His calling on your life. I'm just saying.