For years at Christmas we journeyed back to Tennessee and Alabama to visit our families and enjoy a respite from the lake effect snow machine that usually cranks up in November in northeast Ohio. A few weeks after we returned from our annual pilgrimage to the Promised Land in East Tennessee in 2006, my wife Julie comes in the house laughing. She was holding in her hand an envelope addressed from the City of Knoxville, Tennessee. Inside the envelope were a couple of photographs that showed what looked like our vehicle going through a stop light. After closer examination of the license plate, I did determine that it was indeed our vehicle. Who was driving is still debatable in our home as both Julie and I took turns operating the vehicle while in Tennessee. I hope the City of Knoxville puts my fifty-dollar fine to good use.
We have to determine in our lives when to stop and when to go. When are there red lights and when are there green lights and should we pay attention to the yellow lights that mean we should use caution. When the green light comes on regarding vision, we cannot sit still, we must move. We must go forward. So how do we do that?
First, you must determine what is the center of your life.
Our solar system is a marvel in many ways, but one that relates to this topic is that all of the planets revolve around one central source of energy, our sun. God set in order our solar system and each planet pays a part in the system. Without our sun we could not exist physically. Without God, we cannot exist spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The center of your life in the twenty-first century revolves around you. We have been trained by our educational system, our media saturated society, and the politically incorrect to believe that we are the center of our life, that we are our own gods.
If you have any age to you, you will remember years ago there used to be an inexpensive toy called super balls. You hit it on the ground and it’d go thirty, forty feet high. Why? Because the center of a super ball was so tightly compacted it was a solid core not some mushy center like a tennis ball, which is very mushy. But a super ball had a very solid core and that gave it its bounce. Man, I loved those balls. When we got tired of them, we would pitch them to each other and knock it about five hundred feet, without human growth hormones!
God must be at the core of your life, your vision, your call, and your dream. God is a solid core, not some mushy psycho-nonsense that we get from media superstars that have afternoon talk shows. Making God the core of your life will involve a disciplined walk with God which will include a daily devotional time of Bible study and prayer, and also importantly, the sacrifice of your wants and desires. It will mean that you start to clear the clutter form your life that gets in your way. It will be painful and it may get ugly, but it must be done!
Second, you need to determine what kind of person you are going to be in this life.
This is an issue of character and integrity. I don’t know any better description of what Jesus was like in character than in Galatians 5 where Paul writes about the fruit of what God’s power does in us as He grows us. Our character is formed by the accumulation of good habits and honestly, by the accumulation of bad habits if we are not careful. If you have a habit of being kind to people, people will look at you and say you are a kind person. And God is developing those good habits in us to develop good character.
Third, we must determine how we are going to use our God given talents, abilities and gifts to carry out His vision.
You have talents, abilities and gifts that God has given you to make a difference in the world. Until we start using these special presents from God, we will be unfulfilled. I believe in the principle found in Colossians 3:23, that whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God. This includes using our talents, gifts, and abilities to carry out God’s vision in both ministry positions and secular jobs.
We can know God’s call and vision for ourselves, but as described later it takes work. We must pray and seek God’s mind and will. It takes seeking godly counsel from godly people. It takes studying God’s Word and openness to his call. Following are some scriptures I’ve found to be helpful in understanding God’s call in my life.
Genesis 50:19-21, Exodus 3, 1 Samuel 16:12-14, Isaiah 6:8, Matthew 4:19, Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:59-60, Luke 18:18-22, Ephesians 4:1-3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:10-11