Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When God Calls Your Name

The telling of a personal testimony is a glimpse of God in action. They are vignettes God gives us of a life that has been touched by Him and through the Holy Spirit has overcome the powers of darkness. With the world surrounding us on every side the lustful attractions toward being carnal or giving in to the things of the flesh can be overwhelming. A Godly testimony brings us hope. But if we look at a testimony with an "I am glad God works for you attitude" then we are defeated before we start. I often wonder why so many think that God cannot touch their lives as He does in so many others. Why is it that so many think they are just not good enough for God to reach out and love? When Jesus called the Apostles do we think He did it because they were perfect people? No, not at all. If you study their lives you will find He had a tremendous amount of work to do in them. They failed often, questioned often, were faithless often, did not understand the things He taught often, and in His darkest hour, just before His arrest and betrayal, they fell asleep when He asked them to wait and pray with Him. Even Peter, denied Him three times. In short, they were imperfect men. But God is patient and suffers long with us. His desire is to perfect us but that perfection takes time; we call it sanctification.

Sanctification is the process whereby God saves and sets us aside for His work. It is the process by which we become different, holy, Christlike 2 Cor. 5:17. At the point of belief, John 3:16, He then uses His word, the Bible, as a tool revealing to us more about Him. This process is set in action from the moment we are convicted of our sin. It is at that time He begins His work in us. It is a work of calling at first that we notice through a realization that we have sinned against God and that we are separated from a relationship with Him and Heaven. If we positively respond to His call, salvation will ensue and sanctification becomes positional, we are His. At salvation, the time at which we confess our sin and receive Him into our heart and life, John 1:12-13, He fills and baptizes us with His Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:12-13. It is at this point that we become a member of the Body of Christ, His church, and our names are written in the Lambs (Jesus') Book of life, Rev. 21:27. It is at that very moment He begins that continual sanctifying work, a work that will last a lifetime. No, none of us will ever be good enough for God but He specializes in creating the perfect from the imperfect.

As a "love God with all my heart" Christian I daily endeavor to live for Him and in His will. I am not perfect but I know that one day I will be like Him when the sanctifying process is complete, 1 Thess. 5:23. In the meantime, I live to be a vessel useful to His work through prayer, Bible study and communion with Him daily. My eyes no longer see life through carnality and lusts for pleasure but rather, have been transformed to view life through His eyes. Again I am not perfect and I still struggle but as the apostle Paul stated,

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Cor. 4:16-18)

So then, Sanctification is a transformation process by which the Christian becomes day by day, more and more, like Christ. The things we see, hear, feel, speak and touch are all being transformed into the way that Jesus sees, hears, feels, speaks and touches. This process by proxy, buffers us with the things of the world and the old self rises within and sometimes yearns to be gratified with what our previous life engrossed itself in. This causes momentary light afflictions, battles, that we must fight. But the sanctifying process of transformation, Rom. 12:2, helps us to focus on the Lord and the things that are eternal. All the world offers is temporary, will burn up and leaves us empty handed. But the things unseen, those things the Christian focus' upon, they are eternal. This is why you will often hear the Christian state, “this earth is not my home.”

Going Deeper
In my book, "Those Who Are Wise Will Shine" I try to expose for the reader how God constantly worked to sanctify a people, Israel, for His work in the world. He used them as the willing and imperfect vessels chosen to protect the special truths about who God is, how He created all things, and how He alone can offer eternal life to all who will believe. If you read the book you will engage in a journey down a sacred path. You will follow His work through the bloodline of Adam up until the birth of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. In reading it you will discover just exactly how God works, what things are important to Him, and why some of those "hard-to-understand" events pictured in Scripture had great purpose in protecting His way of salvation.

If you carefully follow the lineage revealed in Old Testament Scripture you can see for yourself the awesome and amazing Hand of God at work in a way that becomes personal. You see, He has entrusted that same word of faith He showed through Adam, that was passed down to Noah, continued onward through Shem, passed to Abraham, promised through Isaac, appearing in Jacob and his twelve sons and eventually culminating in the Words of the Messiah who passed it to His disciples and finally on to believers today. It is an amazing journey of faith. In studying it you can see for yourself why we, as Christians, experience trial, why we are convicted by the Holy Spirit and told, "don't do that," and why we are called to be a separate and sanctified people. If we lived always as those around us who do not know or have a relationship with God then how will others be able to see, desire, and know Him for themselves? The short answer is they wouldn't and the world would soon perish and all would die without any hope in their lives.

Every life is a treasure to God, and those who give theirs to Him become a special treasure. The journey is not easy, we must be broken like a wild horse or the potty training of a puppy. But God specializes in doing that work in us if we only trust Him to do so. You are special before God. If you are reading this and do not have a personal relationship with God, or you are unsure that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, then you are being called to be a part of His world and life changing--eternal life bestowing work. But you must listen to His call and agree with Him that you are not good enough on your own. His work must be done His way and we must devote our hearts to allow Him to change us from the inside out that we may be useful to His work. What an exciting and overwhelming thought, that the King of the Universe--the Creator of the world--the Lord of Lords would ask you, by name, to team up with Him, become a member of His family, and to be used by Him in His eternal work!! What a magnificent calling!! The work is not easy at times and will come with tears as He breaks our death grip from the things of the world which only exist to destroy us and the lives of others, but the end result is eternally rewarding.

Those Who Are Wise Will Shine, Understanding the Work of God in Your Redemption can be purchased at Lifeway Christian Stores, Amazon, Google Books, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-million and from the publisher, Thomas Nelson's, Westbow Press

Read it for the Bible study journey of a lifetime!

God Bless!
Michael L. Henderson