The Joy of God’s Calling

My husband showed me videos from his Facebook newsfeed of beloved workers in church who wrangle the rough-flowing rivers with their motorcycles going to a people on the mountains to preach the Gospel. These volunteers are not full-time workers but fathers who also hold day jobs: ambulance driver, security guard, fireman, etc. During their off days and weekends, they gather like a small army with their motorcycles and Bibles after which they will then make their long and arduous trek to the mountains of Sta. Inez to hold a Bible Study amongst the communities there.

This was just a very quick dabble to clean up the remaining paints on one of my porcelain palettes that's been sitting on my desk gathering dust.

This was just a very quick dabble to clean up the remaining paints on one of my porcelain palettes that’s been sitting on my desk gathering dust.

To be able to reach the place, they would have to cross seven rivers. When they have reached the top, they are rewarded with the cool mountain breeze, an invigorating welcome after their gruelling journey. Clouds hang low and wrap themselves around the mountain peaks, the mist hover in front of them and seem to whisper its approval and blow a kiss. As if that wasn’t reward enough, the anticipation of families – men, women, child, and the elderly – lining up in the gathering place, beaming with joy and thanksgiving, eager for the banquet that awaits them, a feast on the Word of God.

The joy of God’s calling! It lifts off the burden of life’s travails; it wipes away other desires that may serve oneself and not the living God. It is the antidote to all self-serving dreams and appetites. To find one’s way on this path is the beginning of the fulfilment of one’s purpose on earth. To be able to yield and place oneself snugly into God’s divine purpose without any trace of fear (and even if there is fear, to face it with courage and boldness that only comes from God), uncertainty, and resistance is to find one’s happy and satisfying place, which no other place could offer, like a key finding the lock made for it.

Many Christians (me included) struggle to live a fully satisfying, fulfilling life, looking here and there, to the left and to the right, for that life where you don’t get to envy or covet others’ lives. When we haven’t fully embraced God’s calling and purpose for us, we tend to look at how others live their lives and we then  compare. In fact, it is this practice of comparing that makes us to not fully see and grasp God’s plan for us. We dream dreams and desire things, mostly influenced by what we see around us and in the world at large. We set out and chase them purposefully. But we continue looking and comparing and coveting, never coming to that place of deep satisfaction and gratitude.

Until we seek and find and embrace God’s plan for our lives, we will continue to grope. We will continue to struggle to live a fruitful life, one that shines and reflects the glory and beauty of God.

I myself have been in and out of those kinds of struggles. But after my husband showed me the videos of the brothers fording the rivers of Sta. Inez, I found the answer to my wandering, groping heart and mind.

The Apostle Paul had found it and lived it until the day he died. And many Christians after him lived it, too, desiring a better, that is, a heavenly country, waiting for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

And what is this life?

It is to live is Christ.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21)

This is all we need to know to be able to settle in life and live everyday.

To live is Christ.

To live following the life the Lord Jesus Christ lived. To walk as He walked. To think as He thought (“We have the mind of Christ”). To minister as He ministered. To love as He loved. To obey the Father as He obeyed. To live according to the Father’s plan and purpose for us as He lived His life according to God’s plan and purpose for Him.

To be meek and lowly. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mat. 11:29). The meekness and gentleness of Christ (2 Cor. 10:1). Thesaurus lists down synonyms of meek and lowly and I picked a few:

submissive, serene, gentle, unassuming, forbearing, humble, long-suffering, modest, patient, peaceful, unpretentious, yielding

To live with power and authority as a child of God. That is, power over all the power of the enemy.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

To live single-mindedly, doing the work of God.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 4:34)

But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (John 5:17)

This is not an impossible task, for the Lord promised power and victory in faith.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)

Our hearts and minds are divided because we straddle the kingdom of God and the world, one foot on each, and in the deed, we feel discontented, unhappy, and unfulfilled.

…the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)

Though we bear fruit here and there, it’s not abundant. In fact, more often than not, there is a lack. Or worse, a barrenness.

“To live is Christ” doesn’t mean it’s all a blissful life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s living contrary to the world’s teachings and practices. It’s a narrow road. There are trials and tribulations. But it would be a fruitful life. Fruitful in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And when we live under the roof of all these, the reign of the Holy Spirit, there is no more lack, nor envy, nor coveting. Only a fulfilling life, knowing that we are at the very heart of God’s will and purpose for us.

If you have been blessed by your visit here, I’d love for you to like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. To not miss any posts, I also invite you to subscribe below. Thank you!

Linking up with Tell His StoryWise WomenCoffee for Your HeartFaith Filled Friday.

Pursuing God

For those who are called to serve, until we begin to understand and appreciate that God’s calling for us is the highest calling, the highest purpose for our lives, we will continue to have feelings of discontent, frustration, and restlessness. As long as we – our sights, thoughts, and affections – remain focused to the ways of the world and to the realization of our own self-ish desires and dreams, there will always be resistance within us, and true peace and happiness will never be achieved.

(image from Google)

There are many who are blessed with a heart that single-mindedly pursues God, as if there’s nothing in this world that could be greater and more meaningful. They are blessed with “spirit eyes” and see beyond this world to the wisdom that lies at its periphery. But I know that there are also some whose spirits are divided between their love for God and love for the world or the self. They serve God but a part of them also longs for the world – to experience it, to succeed in it, to taste and enjoy its offerings. They may not actively pursue the world or their dreams, but their latent affections for these are present within nonetheless. I am kind of in that place.

I had seen someone who fervently served God but when she saw a Christian family with their material blessings, her countenance fell. She was affected by the blessings of others. I wonder, is this another symptom of a divided heart? A heart that desires God and some of the world at the same time?

I am beginning to understand that feelings of envy emanate from a heart that has not fully surrendered to God and His calling. One who has not really set his or her heart to pursue God unrelentingly. I believe that to make life less complicated, peace- and joy-filled, those who are called by the Lord to serve should do it with their whole beings – no misgivings, no reservations, no resistance, no sorrow. Unlike how the prophet Jonah behaved at first. Or Dimas.

A heart that pursues God single-mindedly is first of all grace from above. Grace that bestows wisdom and obedience. Then the self must begin to live a mature spirituality, disciplining all its members not to be entangled with the cares of this world, but to follow God and His Word purposefully. To intentionally live for God and His high calling.

To finally begin to understand that God’s calling is the best thing that could ever happen to a person is to finally receive and embrace one’s freedom, from the world and from one’s selfish desires, and to finally hold on to true joy.

How could it not be the most excellent thing to be used by God for His purposes and plans? Life on earth is just fleeting. Like a vapor. But the life He has promised is eternal, full of all His wonderful blessings one can never begin to imagine. I used to think that I was missing a lot, and had lost a lot, when I had to give up my career. For a long time I grieved for it, thinking that my career was the best thing that ever happened to me. Like my career was my life and happiness. But God has been changing all that.

I love how Apostle Paul grasped it:

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Phil. 3:7-8 NLT)

And I will also be wrapping my brain and heart around this. Joyfully.

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,