Suddenly during the sermon, the church felt empty of everyone except the pastor and me. The lights seemed dim and low. It was as if God were speaking one-on-one with me through the pastor.
Driving down the road listening to a preacher on the radio, something clicked inside of me. I was crying and felt overwhelmed as I realized that what was being said on the radio was God speaking to me through someone. I knew at that moment, that I had to pull over and listen.
In another instance, as I was reading the Bible, my eyes raced faster and faster across the words, because what I was reading was speaking directly to me about a current situation. I read it over and over, thinking to myself, "yes Lord, that is what I have been going through, and yes Lord, I know You can handle this situation; Your Word tells me so."
Ever have experiences like these? They are callings to us, directly from God. These are always one-on-one, person-to-person, direct-from-God callings. This is the first of five characteristics of God's Callings.
When people say to me, "I think I have been called into foreign missions," the first question out of my mouth is, "Tell me about the calling." They may respond, "Well, so and so said they were thinking about me and thought I would be good in foreign missions -- why, they even tracked me down in the parking lot at church to tell me!" If they say that, of course the next question I ask is, "But what did God say to you when He called you?" "Huh?"
See the difference? The first three examples are in the first person; they are one-on-one, direct callings from God. The foreign mission example is in the second person. This is not, in my opinion, a good quality calling, although I admit it may be the beginning of a call.
Genesis 17:3 (NLT) Abram fell face down, and God said to him, 4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
Throughout the Bible, we read about God speaking directly to people, or speaking through what is referred to as "an angel of the Lord." Can God do this today?
Certainly! It is my belief that God today has chosen to speak to us in the first person in three ways. First, God speaks through His Word, the Bible. Secondly, God speaks through His people -- in other words, through fellow Christians. Thirdly, God speaks through an inner prompting of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in everyone who has accepted Christ as his or her Savior.
Ok, great -- the first characteristic of God's calling is that they are person-to-person. "So David," you ask, "what's the application of this principle?" Glad you asked.
You will never hear God's calling unless you are where God calls.
If you read the Bible regularly, God can use the Bible to speak to you. If you go to church, a Bible Study, or seek counsel from other Christians, then you will hear God speaking to you through others. If you pray, slow down, stop and listen to the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you, then you will hear God's callings. But if you continue to fill your life with busyness, noise, static, and avoidance of God's methods of speaking, then you cannot hear the person-to-person callings.
Lord, help us apply this first principle of hearing Your callings. Forgive us for not taking time for You, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.