June 5, 2015

Romans 11:29 God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

I have heard this verse quoted many times, generally somewhat out of context, in relation to the Charismatic Movement. I have seen people who have had what would be called “Charismatic” experiences who then turned their backs on the whole thing. That strikes me as risky to say the least, but that’s something I have to leave in God’s hands. I have known people, and known of many more, who tried to run from the call of God on their life, much as Jonah did. It’s not turned out any better for them than it did for Jonah! The whole issue of calling is very important, though often misunderstood. We can never be happier or more fulfilled than when we are following God’s plan for our lives. Even saying that runs into logical difficulties, however, because God knows in advance what we are going to do, whether that is what He desires for us or not. The whole issue of predestination and free will is practically guaranteed to pop our mental circuit breakers! That brings us back to the necessity for faith, trust, and obedience. We need to believe that He has a plan for us and that He is able to bring it to pass. We need to trust that His plan is good, and that His provision is sufficient. We need to be obedient to all that we know of His will. If we will do those things, we will find peace, joy, and fruitfulness that are available no other way.

As a pastor – who didn’t start out planning to be a pastor – I deal with this issue constantly. People come to me frequently for advice and counseling, and I can do no better than what my father was notorious for doing: ask them what God wants them to do. God has a different plan for each individual, but He doesn’t leave us without clues as to how we are to proceed. Sometimes we mishear Him, and that can cause confusion and pain, but if we trust Him enough to get quiet before Him, the confusion clears up and the pain is healed. Some young people come to me wanting me to tell them what God’s plan is for them. Sometimes He allows me to tell them things, but often He makes it clear that I’m not to be directive, because seeking Him directly is what He knows they need to be doing. It is a joy to be able to confirm people in what they already feel God is saying to them, but it is awkward, to say the least, to feel they are missing God rather badly. Above all I’ve got to be careful I don’t make my plans for people’s lives and try to influence them to follow what I think. God can and does use things in ways we could not imagine, and trusting Him is as important for me as it is for the people who want my advice.

Father, help me use the gifts You have placed in me in line with the the calling You have placed on me. Help me encourage others to do the same, leading them into obedient trust by my words and my example, so that together we may be agents of Your kingdom, doing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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