#109: Will You Answer God When He Calls You to Lead?

OK, I’ll admit it. I screen my calls using the caller ID. When the caller ID says “Private” I’m like, “No way! Maybe when sergeant calls, and of course if an officer calls, but private, nope, no way am I answering the phone.”

God Calls

I bet, even though the conversation in your head might be different, that you do the same thing!

When I was a younger man, I answered the phone every time hoping it would be the boss asking me to take on some special assignment. As I grew a little older (and somewhat wiser), I realized that some of those phone calls were assignments that weren’t really all that special. Other assignments were things I wasn’t qualified to do, but my larger than life ego made me say ‘yes.’ In both cases, these were assignments I should have said ‘no’ to!

But what happens when God calls? I hate (really hate) to admit it, but there have been times when I treated God’s call like the caller ID said ‘private.’ Oh sure, I had my excuses. There is the selfish excuse: “God, thanks for thinking of me, but I am pretty busy doing my stuff right now.” There is the deflection excuse: “God, I think Mike over there would do a better job for you than me.” There is the delay excuse: “God, I’m just not quite ready yet.” But the truth is, all of these excuses of mine could be summed up in, “God, I’m afraid.”

If you’ve read the Bible or listened to a few sermons, you’ve probably heard about someone that God called, who was either reluctant or downright fearful, to answer God’s call. It’s good to know that we are not alone!

One of my favorite Bible characters is Jeremiah. There are a lot of reasons I like Jeremiah, but one reason is that like me, Jeremiah was reluctant to answer God’s call, but God used him anyway!

Jeremiah’s Back-story

Jeremiah lived during a very difficult time in Judah’s history. King Manasseh was the most evil king who had ruled over Judah. He had caused the people to reject God, and worship idols, to the point that God said they were worse than the people God had destroyed to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land!

When Manasseh died his son, Amon became king and he was worse than his father. He went so far as to make idol worship the official religion of Judah! Thankfully, Amon ruled only two years when his son, Josiah, became king. Josiah tried to turn things around by renewing the people’s covenant with God. He ordered the idols removed, the temple to be repaired, and worship of God to be resumed. The people made outward changes, but their hearts remained hard. And that’s when God called upon Jeremiah!

Jeremiah’s Call from God

Jeremiah records God’s words when God called Him to lead the nation as his prophet:

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

 Now here comes Jeremiah’s excuses:

“Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” Jeremiah 1:6

But, God’s not buying these excuses:

But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:7-10

 Lessons for Us from God’s Call to Jeremiah

  1. God is God, and we’re not! Let’s not forget, God is our creator. God knew us before He even formed us in the womb!
  2. God set us apart. Before we were even born God set us apart. That phrase ‘set apart’ means to be holy, in service to God.
  3. God appointed a work for us to do. God has a specific plan of service that he has appointed to each of His children.
  4. God is not put off by our perceived weaknesses. Our perceived weaknesses, whatever they may be, are not a deal breaker to God (see point 1).
  5. God’s direction is specific. God has a specific plan in mind for the work we are called to do.
  6. God equips where God leads. God equips us to do whatever work He has called us to do—whether we believe it or not!
  7. God is with us always. God does not ask us to do the work alone—he is always with us, and because of His presence we need not be afraid.

Whatever work God has called us to do, rest assured that He called us because He knows everything about us. He created us, and He is more than capable of determining what we can do. God will equip us to do whatever He has called us to do! With God at our side, there is no reason to be afraid, success is assured.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! Have you been reluctant to answer God’s call on your life? What happened when you finally answered?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “#109: Will You Answer God When He Calls You to Lead?

  1. This blog post spoke out and answered some questions that I have to an extent. I had been asking God and praying what His calling is for me in life. The big question about my career and vocation. I have been constantly praying thinking that this is the only thing that God is going to call me about. After reading this blog post, it was intuitive and inspiring to read that God can be calling me in every situation and moment. I walk with God and try to live according to the bible as much as possible though I fail and am not perfect a hundred percent of the time. When I am living like this God gives me feelings and thoughts in certain situations where my courage and initiation is asked of. I questioned myself whether my thoughts were legit enough to even adhere to, but through understanding and accepting Jesus into my heart and my life’s master I realize that He has cleansed me and my thoughts and feeling are legitimate to give deep consideration. Now I try to live according to the convictions that I get and the feelings in my heart as well as the thoughts in m mind.
    As for my calling/vocation/career, I was afraid to walk a pastoral ministry because without God’s certain calling then He wouldn’t be helping me then I can’t ever conceive to do ministry without God’s blessing and anointing. But if He calls me to pastoral ministry then I will pursue with certainty (faith) and anticipation (hope) that He is going to do great things through me (further His kingdom).
    Praise God!

  2. The times I have ignored God’s voice and decided to go with my plan have showed me how much I need of God. My plans are nowhere nearly as perfect as his even if I believe I have it all figured out. God decides the time and place in order to carry out his perfect will. I believe that many times people ignore God’s call but other times we try to rush into things without waiting for the signal to go. In either of these circumstances we must remember that we should never be concerned with doing things in our own strength but rely 100% on our Provider.

  3. I have definitely been reluctant to God’s call in my life multiple times. I loved reading about this and the idea of God having a plan for us and knowing our path before we were even created. Reading this was very similar to the speech my coach gave my team a few days ago about knowing we are worth it and we are everything He has planned for us. Being able to hear this from different outlets help to reenforce the importance of trusting in Him and listening to His calling for me. I did not listen to Him at first when it came to coming to APU for acrobatics and tumbling. Once I was able to give up my gymnastics goals, which was not the path He had in store for me, I was able to see the amazing opportunity I had here at Azusa and how my life would forever be changed. Once I listened to Him I was able to build a strong relationship with Him throughout the last 3 years of my life because I listened to Him and not myself.

  4. I enjoy this discussion a lot because I can definelty relate to the idea that we are often too scared or don’t believe we can do the task at hand but the important thing to realize is that even though we may not be able to do so, God can do so. We often let our own egos or insecurities paralyze us because we fear that we can’t do it. However by doing so we are discrediting God and expressing our distrust in His power and abilities. The problem is we forget God’s power which is so silly because all you have to do to remember His power is simply look around you at the creations He has made. An example is if the President asked you to do something and gave you his level of titlement and access but you responded to him saying ” I don’t think I’ll have the clearance to do that”. It is not only silly but insulting to the president. How much more so is it for God when we say that to him. This is what we have to remember

  5. Very good thoughts brought up here. There are many lessons that should be taken away from God’s call to Jeremiah. All of the points were very accurate and depict an accurate portrayal of how we as Gods people should answer His call. There are two that specifically resonated with me. The first was number two: God set us apart. This is something that most people lose sight of in our everyday culture. God has truly set us all apart as his people and we are each called for a unique purpose. The second is God equips us where God leads. I am a firm believer is this notion. We are called as God’s people to follow Him with the tools he has given us to provoke the change we want to see in the world.

  6. I definitely agree that every person was created with talents and gifts; potential that is within us that God can see even when we cannot. I believe that the “voice in the back of your head” that people refer to in life is actually God protecting and guiding us, or that gut instinct that is so often followed. There have definitely been times when I feel like I knew something was going to happen, or if it was best to avoid certain circumstances because of that voice. Sometimes, that voice leads me to places I don’t want to go, like circumstances that are out of my comfort zone. But life and true spirituality begin once you step out of your comfort zone. God did not call us to a life of comfort or easiness, but rather a constant state of discomfort for the sake of God’s glory. This could mean spending time with people that look and act differently than you, forgiving and loving people even when they don’t deserve it, or standing up for what truly is right even when society believes otherwise. In my own personal journey, I have experienced nothing but reluctance to God’s call. I identify heavily with the delay and selfish excuses as mentioned above. I always felt inadequate to the call that I felt from God, especially in ministry because I was not as well versed Biblically. This lack of knowledge held me back from knowing and living for God, and I felt the call over and over again to delve into the word but always found some excuse. When I finally answered and just decided to read and engage in the Bible I felt an overpowering feeling of love and awe, chills all over and fulfillment like I’ve never experienced. There is no feeling like it, and it is incredibly personal. However, the “personal” feeling cannot simply remain personal, for God is not simply feeling. He is action, and the relationship that we experience must be shared with others. The fearless nature He instills in us should shine through every action we take, for God is always with us.

  7. Personally, there have been times that I have been reluctant to God’s call. And i think when I have done this He only makes His path even more clear. When I finally surpass the fear that holds me back I find that His call was what was best. I think that perceived weakness is something that has the power to continually hold us back, but I find solace in the remembrance that God is always with us and find strength in that.

  8. Since attending APU, I was afraid because I had heard God’s voice on many occasions. He had commanded me to speak to and help certain people. However, I did not realize that that voice was the voice of God. I thought I had gone crazy because I heard a voice speaking to me when no one was around. Every time I heard His voice and did not respond because of fear, I felt a deep sense of guilt. Eventually in college, I began to listen and obey God’s voice. I believe my faith has grown as I have started to trust God more and more with control over my life. He challenged me to do things I would have deemed impossible for me but with God’s blessing over me, I overcame almost all my fears. God knows what’s best for each and every person.

    During my freshman year at APU, one of my roommates mentioned a book called Treasure Hunts by Kevin Dedmon. There was a church that actively prayed together and asked God to give them words or phrases. Then, God would direct those members of the church to find a certain someone and speak certain words or phrases to them. This is an interesting concept of actively seeking people to speak God’s word over them. This has actually happened to me once in high school.

    After marching band practice in high school, I was waiting by the stairs when a friend approached me. I greeted her and half seriously joked that I would never get a boyfriend. Suddenly, she grabbed my face with both hands and told me that I was beautiful and to never let anyone make me believe otherwise. At this point, I was panicking because our faces were very close and her eyes were unfocused. She seemed to be in a trance and it felt as if she wasn’t looking at me but through me. We never spoke about this moment but I believe that was God speaking to her through me. I had never told anyone that I had self-esteem issues. I never told anyone that I was afraid to look in the mirror for years because I was called an ugly monster by my family. However, God knew and he used my friend to speak to me. After realizing that God had spoken to me, I started to take a peek at mirrors only to realize that she was right. Sometimes God with speak to you through others.

    More information about the book: http://www.ibethel.org/treasure-hunts

  9. It is so true that we can rest assured knowing that God is in control. His peace surpasses all understanding. Confusion kicks in when I forget that I have been called to live for Him and pursue earthly things. When God calls I definitely feel peace and rest in knowing that I do not need to stress trying to please or impress people. All I need to do is make sure I am aligned with Him and who He wants me to be. It’s true that He equips us because He has set us apart. He gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him. God is with me always and I trust Him and His plan. I sought internships for this summer and spent a long time wondering about where God would have me. I know that He is in control and I have faith that He can use me anywhere. He is faithful and I got the first internship position I had pursued and wanted. I know that He has called me to shine for Him and work for Him and His glory. I know in my post graduate life I will learn more and more what it means to put my full trust and faith in God. I would not like to see fear be crippling because God assures He is with us always.

  10. A word in due season. As I’m waiting on God to direct me to the next part of my life’s journey I can get caught up in the ‘worry’ that I am alone. NOTHING can be further from the truth. And, even though I know that, my humanity creeps up to steal my joy. Moment living. Trusting God. Answering His call. Now I’m back on track. P.S. Right before I read this post I got a call from Private. God is funny.

  11. Thank you for the word of confirmation. I needed to hear this today. God has called each of us for a purpose, even when we sometimes don’t feel qualified in walking in that purpose.
    2 Timothy 1:9 – Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

  12. #109 I truly needed to read this one. I see myself holding back on some of what God is calling me to do. I am however finding myself getting closer to God by finding more to read and study about him.