Is it live or is it latex? Remember, this three part series started off with a dicussion about turkey calls and how turkeys are often fooled in coming to hunter and meeting their end all on account of an artifical call made of latex. I asked the question, how can you and I be sure the callings we hear in our lives are truly that of God? Today I give you the final five keys that I use in helping to discern “live” from “latex” in my life.
Sixth, what are your interests? I don’t believe God typically calls people to do things they absolutely hate doing or have no interest in doing. This isn’t to say that God can’t change your heart but if he changes your heart then you will have the interest. Does God sometimes lead people into uncomfortable positions? Of course he does. Anytime we are moved out of our comfort zone we are ripe for growth and I have no doubt that growth is what God is trying to accomplish in such times. I have never seen, however, God drag anyone off kicking and screaming into a ministry they did not want or submit themselves to willingly. I’d bet there are a lot of folks in ministry today that if they were honest would say they are very unhappy doing whatever it is they are doing as pastors, youth pastors, etc. Yet the reason they are in the position they are in is because they didn’t or still don’t believe God can use their interests, or passions, as a ministry to others. Bloom where you are planted. Look at the interests God has given you and see if maybe they match the direction he is leading you in.
Seventh is that of time and intensity. How long have you felt this calling? Is it new or have you felt this calling for a long time? Does it feel inescapable? Only you know this one. What I know from my own experience is that when God is calling you to do something that sense is consuming and often times will even keep you from fully focusing on anything else. You will never feel satisfied until you fulfill whatever it is God is calling you to do.
Eighth, what does your heart tell you? Does it feel right? Does your heart tell you, even though common sense or your friends say otherwise, that it is the right thing to do? I can’t tell you what that feeling feels like. Again, only you know for sure. Call it a sixth sense. Of course you must make sure that your heart is properly fixated and completely in submission to God. It’s easy to get distracted by other things in the world around you. When that happens the message becomes confusing, or worse, you follow the wrong the message. Like a turkey to a hunters call, it doesn’t end well. However, when you have truly submitted yourself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, when you are fully focused on Him, that voice inside you will ring loud and clear. Galatians 5:24-25 tells us that if we belong to Christ, then we must put to death the other desires and passions, that distract us and in so doing we are able to then walk in step, or follow the direction of the Spirit in every part of our lives.
Ninth, are you experiencing obstacles, one after another, and feelings of doubt in your attempt to work toward what it is you believe God is calling you to? If so, that is a clue you are moving in the right direction. I learned long ago that Satan will attempt to discourage and derail people from doing God’s will as it furthers God’ Kingdom. The bigger the doubt, obstacle, or discouragement is, the bigger the mission has in store for you. Stay encouraged. Need help? I love to read Hebrews 11 and12. Read the stories of “Faith’s Hall of Fame”; people who faced overwhelming odds, adversity, and difficulty yet prevailed and succeeded in doing that which God had called them each to do. Be encouraged, stay focused.
Tenth, and lastly, are you willing to accept the cost of following the call? It’s easy to say, “I’ll do whatever God calls me to do and go where he calls me to go”. Many people say it and never do it and thus never fully experience what God has in store for them. To fully accept the cost of serving Christ, whatever that might be, requires an entirely different level of commitment. I think to Acts 9. When Saul was converted the Lord told him to go into the city. No other details, just a lot of uncertainty. Then the Lord appears to Ananias and tells him to go to Saul and minister to him. Of course, Ananias was familiar with Saul’s reputation as one who was notorious for persecuting and killing Christians so it is no wonder he was apprehensive and questioned the Lord’s leading. Despite the risk, however, Ananias obeyed. And what was the Lord’s message to Saul? Verse 16 says it was to show him how much he must suffer. Saul (Paul) and many others paid a tremendous price to follow Christ and carry out his work on
earth. When you truly reach the point in your faith where you are truly ready to accept the cost of following Christ and those costs are relative to what you believe God may be telling you to do then there is a good chance you are on the right path.
Once you’ve come to terms with step #10, the issue becomes one of courage. You know God is calling you but do you have the courage to step out and do it. Do you trust God enough? Is your faith big enough? At this point to not follow through is to be disobedient to God. To not do what God has called you to do is to miss out on a tremendous blessing and will no doubt lead to a life full of regret and sense of feeling unfulfilled.
If God is calling you to do something, and you know he is, you won’t be satisfied until you obey. God wants all of you and will never be satisfied less. The Holy Spirit desires to possess you completely. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). When we give ourselves completely to God and trust him with the details we open ourselves up to the tremendous potential and possibility God has for all us. These 10 keys are not a magic formula, they are merely the tools I use to help figure out if God is truly calling me to do something. In the end, it really boils down to matter of the heart, yours and mine. However Jeremiah 29:13 promises us, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
Open your heart, yield it completely to God, and be ready to accept the incredible plan he has for your life.