February 1, 2016

The call of God

One of the big questions of life is ‘why am I here?’ For what purpose did God create me?
In listening to many preachers, reading many books, and referring to statements of faith and various catechisms, I’ve concluded that God never uses cookie-cutters. The only similarity that I can find between all of the varied answers to that question (in a theological sense) is that each of us in some way is to reflect the image of Jesus Christ.

Yet we see like blind men touching various parts of an elephant. Each of us sees Christ in a personal way and the way His people reflect Him will correspond with how we see Him. If I see a teacher, then I want to teach. If I see a person of compassion, then I will be more apt to reflect that compassion. If I see Jesus being black and white about every issue, then I will reflect that way vision.

The reality is that Jesus is all things to all people. Not one of us can reflect all facets of who He is. Even if our sin didn’t get in the way, our various personalities, interests, and circumstances would refract the light that comes from Him. No one can view Jesus without a bias. Our particular way of seeing affects how we reflect Him.

For instance, besides the Apostles, Paul had perhaps the clearest look at the Lord Jesus Christ, which changed him forever. However, that vision was not the only thing that affected the way Paul mirrored Christ; he’d also received a particular calling that lasted a lifetime.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

Each of the authors of Scripture present Jesus in different ways. Like the blind men with the elephant, they describe their impressions. Their varying views are not contradictions but statements that show Jesus Christ as whole and complete. One description will never be sufficient to tell the world about Him.

For Paul, the call of God was to reflect Jesus as preacher of the gospel. Chamber tries to narrow what that means. He says gospel refers to the reality of redemption and separates that from sanctification. In other words, the gospel is only about salvation, not about what happens as God changes lives.

I don’t think the Bible does that. I see redemption in a larger way; I am redeemed from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and eventually the presence of sin. To focus on only one of these seems a lopsided message.

As for His calling on my life, I’m convinced it includes more than sharing the gospel. I am to allow God to transform me into the image of His Son. At first, I thought that being like Jesus meant doing what Jesus did, but that also is too narrow. Now I’m less concerned about the “doing” part and more concerned about the “being” part. I must obey/do, yet He wants me to have His mindset, His attitudes. I can go through the motions, as can a lot of people, but being like Jesus means thinking like He thinks, and being motivated by what motivates Him.

Whether God gives me a global calling like Paul where I am to take the good news to the world, or I am to share and live out the gospel before my family and friends, I am to do it with the heart of God.

That said, it seems to me that my calling isn’t to imitate Paul’s global passion. God never told me to be or do what Paul did. I can learn from his victories (and mistakes), but God wants my life to reach a much higher and grander target:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1–2)

Love your enemies . . . You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Bob was ‘released from solitary confinement’ today. Two nurses bounced happily into his room to tell him that he was free to walk about and visitors no longer need gowns/masks/gloves. I cried. This has been only two weeks, but seems like much longer. We went down to the cafeteria, dragging the oxygen bottle, but at least out of that room with the anteroom and sealed air system.

He has to be off oxygen before he can come home. However, he got his last dose tonight of that very strong, IV only, antibiotic. That means no one will be waking him up at midnight for another dose. Since he’s not slept more than a few hours at a stretch since early January, now he can get some of that precious ‘medicine’ that is so vital for recovery. :-)   PTL!

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