Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Staying Committed To Your Calling



This message was preached by  Navaz D at Word of Grace Church on January 19th, 2020 To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the worship please click here





INTRODUCTION
We have entered a new year and a new decade. It is a good time to reflect, review and refresh or revive our dreams and plan our road map for the next 10 years.

Do you have a goal in your life? Or does your life look like this – Eat sleep work, eat sleep work, eat sleep work…?

At the beginning of 2019, we asked ourselves what will the future say about us. What commentary did Dec 2019 have on Jan 2019? What changed or what growth happened in the months between Jan –Dec 2019?

God has a destiny over each of our lives. We need to remind ourselves of this truth so that we do not drift but grab hold of our calling.


TEXT
2 Tim 1:5-6 Paul encourages Timothy:   I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.


I am not going to do an exegeses this text but am going to share around this theme of a gift/calling God has placed inside you.

This fanning in flame requires commitment. You have to take a hold of that for which Christ took hold for you. You see the purpose in that statement.

What is the “that for which Christ took a hold of you” in your life?

SOME THOUGHTS
Calling is not about a pulpit ministry. It is about being Christ’s ambassadors in the world wherever we are. It is about being an apostolic people. What is that you might ask?

 Apostle is not a biblical term but a common day Greek term, which means Ambassador.

In the same way, we are Christ's apostles or ambassadors. Wherever we go, we are to be the aroma of Christ. Salt and light. Salt and light are useless gathered on a Sunday, if that is all it does.

Light is supposed to shine in darkness not where there is light already.
 Salt is needed where there is no salt. We bring influence and the wisdom of God to the world.

So what is the “want to” in your life? Do you have a ‘want to’ that drives you, that makes you wake up each day?

In life we go through many cycles of ups and downs but each cycle ought to be in an upward direction. Those crises points could be God’s pruning- he is cutting off things that are not bearing fruit in our life.

In order to fulfill our calling we have to do something. It will not happen by magic. It is not God’s responsibility to make it happen. We have to partner with HIM.

Curved balls may come at you but you have to take a swing at it or it can knock you down.

Some sit like victims and feel powerless. An indicator that you have a victim mindset is when you say things like:
“I can’t help it”,
“It’s all happening only to me”,
“Why me?”
“What have I done to deserve this”?
“No one is helping me”.
“I’m all alone “.
“They did this to me”.

 Victims do not take responsibility therefore cannot change the atmosphere around them because they do not believe they have the solution.

We are going to look at 2 people today who could have fallen into this trap and no one would have blamed them if they did. But they did not.

The two people I am talking about are Joseph and Paul.

They had a choice before them – to sink under the weight of circumstances and injustice or to rise above it.

If you wait for circumstance to be perfect before you start pursuing anything or going after our calling, you will be waiting forever.

“If you can’t flourish in the fire, you won’t flourish at all” T D Jakes.

If you have understood your calling, and are committed to it; it will begin to reflect in the choices you make.

Dreams do not just happen. Neither do they happen overnight, they happen over time! Someone said overnight success takes 20 years!!

. He saw himself as a prince. But he landed up becoming a prisoner and slave for about 13 years!!! Do you have what it takes to hold on for over a decade, to a dream when life is completely in the opposite direction?

Are the choices you are making just for that moment or keeping in mind your long-term plan.

Fulling your calling requires character. Character is displayed in, commitment, consistency, and communion

1.    Commitment Luke 16:10-12 . 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Another word for it is stewardship. Some of us hold out on our commitment when we have to serve under someone else. It takes character to serve someone else’s vision well.

Joseph served Potiphar faithfully.

Joseph could have given up and just existed and given in to a victim mentality. He was victimized, but he did not think like a victim.
Joseph true to his character stays committed even in crises. He serves faithfully in circumstances contrary to his calling.

 2. Consistent –Joseph was consistent in his character. He rose to be in charge of the other inmates. What does this tell you? Circumstances did not dictate or shape his responses. He served faithfully in the prison, therefore got promoted to the palace.

 Had Joseph decided not to interpret the butler’s dream do you think Pharaoh would have heard of him? Joseph would have died in the dungeon, unknown and forgotten.

Remember in God’s kingdom, nothing is ever wasted. No pain or trials is ever wasted.

 Do circumstances dictate your consistency, your commitment?
Consistency is an internal default position

  Do you have the stamina for the long haul?
There is a sowing and reaping. Grace does give us what we don’t deserve. Even the reaping is a grace gift. But if you have not sown how do you expect to reap?

  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. GAL 6:7-10

Paul was tested in this. Far from it. These are the words penned by a man in prison.  For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Ephsians 3:1
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christand be found in him Phil 3:7-9

God will only entrust the treasures of his kingdom to the faithful.
Our lack of consistency causes our calling to fall away or us not reaching our full potential.

3 Communion – Last but not the least by any long shot . Joseph maintained his communion with God. 
He never forgot what he learned in his father’s house. He could have said I am in a strange land with its own cultural norms and he could have changed his convictions to match the circumstances.

I believe this came from a quiet strong faith and communion with God. IT says in Gen 39:21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

It is his ongoing communion with God, that helped him interpret the baker’s dream, the butler’s dreams; and then the Pharaoh’s dream.

God-given wisdom helped him plan for the famine and God shaped character enabled him to forgive his brothers and have a right perspective to all that happened in his life.

Without God we are nothing. We need that daily communion with Jesus because part from him we cannot produce lasting fruit.

CONCLUSION

Paul had to endure many hardships, beatings, shipwrecks, and prison. Had Paul while being in prison given into feeling sorry for himself or being a victim we would not have his letters to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and to Philemon. What a loss that would have been!

Reflection

What is God putting his finger on today? Do you have the courage to rededicate yourself? What has God called you to do in your career, in your Christian calling, in your role as child or parent or spouse?
Are you willing to fight for your calling?
·       Some of you have given up or given into thinking like a victim.

  • ·       Some of us need to renew our minds but a negative thought cycle or pattern.
  • ·       Some of us need a strong “want to” that drives us to stay committed to our calling.
  • ·       Some of us need to learn to say no to somethings in order to say YES to the right things.
  • ·       Some of us have been plain lazy
  • ·       Some of us have to burn some bridges and attachments to wrong ways of thinking, behavior, ways of relating to circumstances, for some even relationships!!
  • ·       Some of us have to work on our consistency because we are too dictated by our feelings.
  •  Some have had goals and have done really well last year. Well done!

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to co labour with God to make your calling come to pass

Whichever the category you are in, God’s grace is available for a fresh start.

Let’s be Christ's apostolic people who will be committed to our calling and be world changers!




Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 


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