Do you know Gods Calling?
by 10/29/2007 / Bible Studies
STUDY - no. 2
2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1 V 1
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God...'
Before I finally awoke this morning my mind was on the study of 2 Timothy, but before I reveal what God laid on my heart I also want to share with you my thought patterns concerning this whole study. I'm sure God will bring to light the reason as we go forward together, not just me but for those who read these words.
Please bear with me as it might seem that I have digressed ,but I know that God pulls the most strange scenarios opposed to one another together into His light and understanding.
I start with the word that came to my mind this morning and that word was 'well'. Straight away I thought of the woman at the well story with Jesus and her wonderful encounter. I opened my dictionary/thesaurus and had a good look at the word well.
Well = hole, bore, pit, shaft
Well = gush, jet, pour, spout, spring, spurt, surge
Straight away I thought of the pit I had been left in by family and relatives and a hole so deep that to me there did not seem any way out.
Then I saw the opposite, spring. My mind immediately came upon 'springs of living water'.
When this lady was approached by Jesus I believe, having had 5 husbands that she must have been quite a sad lady with a lot on her mind. Going to the well almost symbolises where her mind was at. This was where Jesus met her. He met her at her point of need, not just to say hello and perhaps help her get the water from the well which must have been a task and a half but also the compassion of Jesus to tell her and show her the true meaning of 'living waters'. As we know from the story the changes in this woman's life at meeting the Messiah, a true revelation of Jesus was transforming not just for her but for all she told. The ripple effect of such a revelation would never be forgotten.
Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with the second book of Timothy, well it has everything to do with it.
As I came to the word apostle I realised I didn't know what it meant, if I am honest. I've heard it mentioned in terms such as apolistic ministry. But my question to God was really 'help Lord what does this really mean?'. I like to be honest with God, if I really don't understand something I ask now, instead of presuming I know. It's far easier and God is only too happy to oblige if we ask and what a joy He makes it.
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God...' 2 Timothy 1v1.....
Paul was not just any old apostle. He was an apostle of Jesus Christ himself so thus it falls into line with the will of God. This is paramount. Any calling on anyone's life, be it man, woman or child even has to have Jesus Christ at the centre. If you don't then it is the flesh working and this is man-made this does not lead to life but death ultimately.
At the time of Paul's calling as an apostle his reputation was already in tatters after persecuting the church, zealously misguided. God in his grace met Paul, as God has chosen him before he was born. Paul, just like the woman at the well had a divine revelation of Jesus Christ. It changed everything from inside out. No longer head knowledge Jesus had touched his heart. Instead of a heart of stone, God gave a heart of flesh. He was born-again.
Looking at the references to Paul being an apostle I came across Romans 1 v 1 '.... called to be an apostle - separated unto the gospel of God...' The word separated drew my attention because when God calls us He separates us. He doesn't pull us out of the world, we have to live in the world, but he separates us to a higher holy calling. Paul's sufferings as an apostle - which is also part of our calling that we will suffer for Jesus Christ was just about to begin.
I realised as I was studying this that I don't really know what my true calling is? I am hoping that both myself and whoever reads this might understand what their calling is in Christ Jesus. We all have different gifts and different personalities. God made us the way we are and we are not to copy one another.
In Ephesians 4 v 11 it says 'And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers'
There has been a great emphasis on wanting to preach almost to the point of idolatry, but if everyone preached then who would do the teaching, who would bind up the broken hearted, who would do the listening, who would walk and be the gospel.
Whatever your calling Jesus Christ has to be the centre of it all. Unless the Lord builds the house all those who labour, labour in vain! Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone. We are His people and He wants us to work together to build His church (which means a body of people not a building made of stone).
As the Lord guided me through these scriptures He also brought to my attention my workaholic tendencies. My parents ethos in life was money, work and more work. They were never satisfied. They defined their own persona through their work. I have done the same but have never rested.
I was led the Genesis chapter 2 v 2
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from ALL his work which he had made'.
Nehemiah in Chapter 13 v 16-19 if you want to look it up Nehemiah, faithful servant of God went to great pains to stop the burden of guilt upon the people by breaking the sabbath and working or selling.
I have suffered from depression for a very long time. I have never rested. My mind, body and soul are exhausted. If God rested from His work how much more so should we. I felt very convicted that I could work really hard for 6 days but on the 7th day to rest.
Being an apostle for Jesus Christ also is obedience. It is essential. God has to trust us with the little things first before He can give us something greater. This isn't to say He doesn't love us. It is because He loves us He has provided us with a blueprint on how to live a holy life, pleasing and full of joy ultimately.
Through obedience comes promises of joy, restoration, comfort and love from God in greater measure. It is not that He hasn't loved us but discipline is essential and it is hard and as petulant children we go off and sulk (I do it all the time).
Please do not be discouraged about this because you see God always brings the best wine at the last minute.
Through this study I have cried, repented over the things I have done wrong, been honest about my fears of man, confusion at the church. One of them was I cannot say or speak somebody else's words even if they are christian and well intentioned. God speaks to us so very differently. Just as Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in words that spoke to her personally, so he spoke to Paul on Damascus Road. As I read the words 'Saul Saul, why do you persecute me'. I sense so much love from God to Paul. He stopped in him his tracks with such grace and turned his life right around.
Still at this point of study I am aware I do not know 100% sure my calling but I do know I can trust God. I do know His Word is true and I trust He will guide me and I hope He will guide you too.
I will leave these final scriptures that I fell upon at the end of my study, because you see God knows our hearts, He knows those who truely want to work for Him and have suffered because of it.
Romans 8 v 1
'There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit'
Romans 8 v 15
'For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father'
Remember whatever calling you have with God He will reveal it lovingly, sometimes painfully as he prunes our lives to be ever more like Jesus.
Whether it is to be an apostle, preacher, teacher or even loving your neighbours giving them a cup of coffee and a listening ear. Jesus is right there with you.
God is a God of variety and I find it so interesting and wonderful as I meet so many people of different ages, backgrounds and yes denominations with different gifts. We have no need of jealousy as we have our own special unique gift. Just ask the Father.
Father, I just pray that you will touch the lives of all who read this. I pray they will learn to ask what their calling is in life, however simple it is. Because I know your burden is light and you never give us too much. Bless all of them Lord and their families. In Jesus Name AMEN!