“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”
God reached out to an ordinary man and called Him to be the Father of the nation of Israel. He divinely interrupted his ordinary life and invited Him on a journey of faith. He called Him to leave the place he was and go to a new place, to be a new person. Here are three brief reflections from Abraham’s life that teach us about calling:
Our calling is often clear, but not certain
Abraham’s calling was very clear. “Go to a land I will show you.” There is no doubt in the author’s mind that Abraham was called and Abraham doesn’t doubt the calling, but immediately obeys. Just because his calling was clear, didn’t mean it was certain. In fact, it was the opposite of certain. It was an invitation to a journey of faith in which God would reveal, slowly but surely, the great plan He had for Abraham’s life. The calling that God issues each of us is an invitation to a journey of faith. He calls all of us to a place He will show us – to a destiny He will reveal as we choose to journey with Him. God hardly ever give us clear outcomes, but the miracles happen along the journey as we walk by faith.
Our calling requires character-development
As people we can be very results-oriented, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but notice that when the author of Hebrews looks back at Abraham’s life, it is not the things He did or actually accomplished in response to God’s call that is noted, but rather, it is the attitude with which He lived his life (Hebrews 11:8-9). In Romans 4:3 we read, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Along the journey of living out his calling, he made more than one mistake, but at the end of the day, God was not as concerned about where He ended up as about the condition of His heart. God calls us to big and great things, but what is more significant, at the end of the day, is our character – who we ARE, rather than what we DO.We can only accomplish God’s purposes when we become the people He wants us to be.
That is why we often see a lot of waiting, in the Bible, after people receive their calling from God. Abram is no different. He received the calling to go with God to a place He would show him and then God revealed to him that he would be the father of a nation that would bless all the nations of the earth. Abraham was clear about what God’s promise was, but his wife remained childless for another 25 years before Isaac was born and God’s promise was fulfilled.In order to become the patriarch God wanted him to be, Abraham had to journey with God for many years and learn the lessons God wanted him to learn.
You and I too, are often called by God and then enter seasons of waiting and growth in which God is working on our character development so that when we get to the fulfilment of His promise, our character matches the assignment He has given us. A truly tragic thing, that happens fairly often, is when people have great potential and vision and calling and then fail in terms of their character… and everything comes crashing down. We see it in the world around us all the time.The calling of God is a calling to journey with Him and to do the hard, and painful work, of character development so that we may find ourselves worthy of His call as we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Don’t forget to do the work of character development and to allow God’s Spirit to shape and form you for your destiny.
Our calling will require sacrificing everything
Abraham is perhaps best-known for the disturbing account of what happens with his son Isaac in Genesis 22. God promises that he will give him an heir and make him a great nation, and after decades of waiting, it finally comes to pass and then, God asks Abraham to do the unimaginable… to sacrifice his son… to put to death his child and his dream.This story is one that reminds us that God requires that we put EVERYTHING on the altar before Him.We can only become who he wants us to be and then accomplish what He was called us to do when we live in a place of complete surrender. This is tested in our lives when God asks us to sacrifice the things that mean the most to us and to let go of all our idols.Often, even the calling that God has given us becomes an idol… something we seek and worship above Him, and something we seek to achieve on our own.We must come to a place of putting to death, laying down and letting go of anything else… of being willing to give it all up for the sake of Christ, as He did for us.
May Abraham’s call to somewhere, and his imperfect but preserving faith, encourage your heart today as you follow God’s call on your life wherever He is leading you.