Come Up Higher

Responding to God’s Call in My Life

Reading the title of the post, one would perceive that my call came something like that of Samuel; maybe a ghost-like kind of rough-speaking voice in my sleep, or the appearance of an angel, or something similar to such like callings by God in the Old Testament.

1 Samuel 3

10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant hears.
11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that hears it shall tingle.

But not exactly.

God’s call came as a still small voice in my heart; a profound and overwhelming desire for Him and everything He had to offer. And I accepted that call— which led me to write the post: My ear He has pierced

Now, I have been on that beautiful yet challenging journey ever since I heard the voice of God call me and bid me to follow Him.

It has certainly been filled with its moments of uncertainty – on exactly what He desires to accomplish through me – sometimes, days of immense questioning, other times, being misunderstood by friends and family, but most times, God’s reassuring voice rising above them all despite the persistent pressure from internal and external voices persuading me to chase after my own dreams and desires, and to follow my heart instead of “misspending time investing my whole life and substance on God’s work.”

My dreams (which are many btw), and expectations of how my life should turn out have been among the hardest things to place on the chopping board. This, not because God has not showed me a more excellent way or led me to a better path, but because the self is ever present; desiring what it desires, wanting what it wants, that is, – comfort and financial security– and hating the inconvenience every step of the way.

There are several occasions when I have been tempted to yield to the voices. Because for the most part, my will is, and has been, to live my life using my own wisdom and intelligence, leaning on my own understanding, sitting at the driver’s seat as I carry God along on the passenger seat (seldom seeking His advise or counsel), and hoping that by my own strength and effort, I will achieve my goals with His blessings as He rides along.

Driving stories

PS: I can tell you for free—when it comes to my desire to achieve something— I go all out; I am an extremely persistent, self-driven individual who fights for her dreams.

God’s will on the other hand, has been to lead me to a much closer and deeper relationship with Himself through my life’s journey, as He works out His purposes in, and through me without following any form of set pattern and certainly without the cosy pillows of comfort on my back.

I believe the reasons for His doing all this are not because He is a sadist dictator — but that He may use my life to be a blessing to others in this extremely broken world and especially in these last days. And it is through this understanding that I have learnt what trusting in Him truly means.

Which means I no longer have to— by my own strength and wisdom — force doors open, scheme, stress or strain – because His word has assured to give rest to all who trust in Him. (Hebrews 4).

Thus one is able to spot the difference, that is: my will is about me— my goals, my achievements, my dreams, my desires, my needs— and God’s will for my life is primarily Him taking first place, then others — as He works out my character and attitudes from one glory to another.

From the perspective of somebody who does not know that personal call, the whole affair would be perceived as strange, irrational, and even foolishness.

Yet the fact remains— God has called me and assigned me a certain task. The only questions that now remain are these: “how can I turn my back on a God who has demonstrated His love for me in a way that no man could ever even dare? How can I suppress that mighty desire —to say yes to Him — raging within me?

I respond to His call—not because I am deluded and experiencing emotional highs, but with a sense of deep, reflective gratitude to my Father. And when He calls me and requests me to do something for Him, I run like the wind. (Well— truthfully, I am not always so swift to respond in all things but I have asked God to bring me to a place of obedience to Him, no matter how hard the call is).

And what an honour it is to have the God who created the heavens and the earth choose me, and need me to run an errand for Him or carry out a task for Him!

For that reason, I must be about my Father’s business for the love of His Son compels me.

I must follow Him wherever He leads me because He is the LORD of my life. I am the servant and He is the Master. Even though He is my most precious lover and friend, He is still my KING).

Jesus is her King

In truth, I now understand —maybe more than I did before— that it is not all places He leads me to, I am going to experience adventurous and exciting emotions.

In fact, all the excitement has been for the most part experienced at the beginning of the call. And later, when the actual work begins, the realities of being a true servant of God come swarming in together with all their astonishments, awes, surprises, confusions and appreciation of God’s patience with mankind.

All this, making me understand — not only what an honor it is to be called by God but— what a tremendous and fearful responsibility it is to be chosen by Him.

Consequently, the rewards of heeding to God’s call are beyond what man can offer and more than all men combined can number.

God has given me a rest and peace that sounds like foolishness whenever I try to explain it to others. He has imprinted on my heart His wisdom, He has granted me a deep, deep sense of self-awareness —to know and to differentiate between the self (which readily desires to drown itself in sin every moment) and my need for His salvation from that destructive self daily.

And this month has been God’s call to me— to come up higher; to commune with Him more, to get deeper into His Word and to die to some expectations.

Come Up Higher

God’s call has not been a one-time invitation, but a progressive journey to crucify my life’s expectations— my whole life as I knew it, and desired it to become— and die to all that I was, and thought or perceived I wanted to become.

As He, in turn gives me a new life: a life that is not conformist to the ideals and operations of the world. A life filled with His Holy Spirit, a life of witness to the world for Jesus. Hence the essence of baptism: dying to the old self and living as a new creation: born of God and living according to His Word (obedience).

Baptism

Matthew 16

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 9:23 has the emphasis on the word— daily.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

A hard charge and challenge indeed. But then again, what is my life of 70 years compared to eternity? What is enjoying life’s pleasures for a season at the expense of hearing those glorious words from Jesus: thou good and faithful servant? What is a few years of discomfort to being given the Kingdom of God?

Following Jesus is not at all about confessing Him as saviour and living as though He is not Lord. Following Jesus is taking up our cross, bearing it daily, and walking to Calvary daily to die. And it is costly.

Matthew 22

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Jesus spoke these words after having told a heartbreaking parable to the people about those who heard God’s call but chose rather to chase after the things of world instead. The parable ends with a surprising turn of events where, some of those people who were ‘so busy’ at first, come to enjoy the promises of God and have their share in His kingdom but are cast out by Jesus.

Both God’s judgement and promises are an assured thing. And I would rather lean upon His promises by faith than roll the dice and take chances on my eternity. So, His promises —which are innumerable — become a strong tower to all weary souls and pilgrims traveling the same road.

My parting shot for you reading this post is this: Are you willing to slow down and —be still— to hear God’s call? And when you do hear that call, are you willing to listen to it and to go to wherever He sends you? Because that is what constitutes the difference between: the called and the chosen.

Luke 12

42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Matthew 6:31 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Okay… Let’s just be honest, whenever most people hear anything about religion, their first reaction and instinct is probably to cringe or brush off the whole matter entirely.

Why? Most likely because it is a subject that is associated with extreme cases of fanaticism, it brings about a lot of conflicts and controversies, and even offends easily.

Religion is famously known for: manipulation, stagnation, repression, ignorance, bigotry and is too often a threat to liberty. And rightly so. I do agree. With that said, I recommend you to read two of my posts as well as encourage you to do a personal, extensive, and honest research on your own regarding this matter. Why?

As intellectuals (critical thinkers), I believe we owe it to ourselves to interrogate, examine, and ask hard questions regarding matters touching on faith rather than choosing to ignore them or even worse— follow blind faith. Click here for the first post.

Who speaks the truth with regards to a genuine, sincere and true relationship with God? Is it Buddha? Muhammad? Jesus? Zoroaster? Confucius? Joseph Smith? Guru Nanak? Krishna? Among others? Find out on this second post:

Why Jesus Stands Out

My heart overflows with a goodly matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the king: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalms 45:1

Thank you for reading this blog. Feel free to share it with others whenever and wherever.🙂

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