Sun AM 3 September – Johan Esterhuizen

Eph. 2:10; 2 Tim. 1:6-7; Jer. 6:16; Col. 3:17, 23-24; 2 Cor. 4:8-9; (Isa. 43:2); John 16:7, 13-14; (Rev. 1:4); (Rev. 4:5); (Rev. 5:6); 1 Cor. 12:8-10; 2 Pet. 1:5-8

When we mention the word ‘calling’, our immediate response is, “I’m not called, I’m not in full-time ministry, and I’m not in the five-fold office”. That is such a religious, pathetic statement – every child of God present here today is called. We have been given the mandate to be salt and light. Salt is a purifier, a perpetuating agent, and has antiseptic qualities. These are qualities that must be in our lives. Saltiness describes our passion and our purpose while God put us on earth; to be light in this time of darkness. We should get excited. Things are going to happen in these days!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them (Eph. 2:10). Some translations say we are His “handiwork”, His masterpiece. When God made you, it was a masterpiece, and you have to believe that. It must be a value in your life. God has made you unique and special. He has given you talents, gifts and abilities to gain resources so that you can become the person He designed you to be. That is His gift to you. Your part is to maximise these things to serve Him, and others, better. It is not about you, it is about serving God and others. Therein lies the fulfilment in life.

Sometimes, our life’s dreams get smashed, and we settle for other things, and in so doing, our saltiness, that which is us, is neglected. “Are you connected to your divine purpose? Are you living the life God has predestined for you to live? There is a master plan. It is more than just divine purpose; it is focused on divine destiny. Nothing is more tragic than seeing individuals, who are placed here by God to fulfil some unique and glorious destiny, still wandering, aimlessly, without an awakened sense of divine calling and purpose”. That is a quote from last week’s word.

Last week, we ended with the eagle that was in the cage. The eagle was contented to be in the cage and the door of the cage was open.  He could come and go, but he thought that he was a chicken, so he sat in the cage. Then one day an eagle flew over and called. The eagle in the cage heard the call, and what happened? He remembered that he was an eagle. God is calling you, to bigger, to better, and greater things in your life. The eagle in the cage – that is where we are. We have been confined, through our doing, through society, and through situations; we are content to live in that cage, but God wants us to open the door of opportunity.

In the world today, they talk about goal setting and smart plans, but there is a deeper issue than just planning. God has got a call and a purpose and a plan for our lives. We want to get there, but there is a wall; there are obstacles, there are conditioning processes, things that keep us back and keep us in our cage. We see that wall, and we think it is impossible. There are also risks involved in becoming what God wants you to be. And so we look at the wall, and we look at the risks, and we hold back.

In order for us to reach our destined purpose, we must be F.O.C.U.S-ed:

Fan – Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:6-7). The NIV says to fan into flame. Notice, God has not given us the spirit of fear. If you have a spirit of fear, it is something that you have acquired, something that you have accepted. It does not come from God. You have to operate in love, power, and a sound mind to stay focused in this life. Many people look at the obstacles, at the impossibilities, at the risks involved, and they are held back. But the time has come for us to break through, to hear that call, and to remember.

Olam – The first thing is to focus on the gift that is within you, to fan it up. Then, the ‘o’ in ‘focus’ stands for olam, the Hebrew word for ‘ancient pathways’. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein (Jer. 6:16-KJV). These ‘ancient pathways’ are not old-fashioned; they are God’s principles that have been set in His Word – how to run your family, how to deal with your finances, how the country should be run. They are not just a set of standards for the Hebrew nation, but for us all, that we may walk in them and find rest for our souls. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, for you work for the Lord, and from the Lord you receive the reward (Col. 3:17, 23-24). When you start to fan up the gift within you, and you start to do things God’s way, something happens: those gifts and talents and abilities grow, and God starts to reward you.

Consider – Let us look at this wall, this barrier that is set before us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8-9). This is how we read that scripture: “Everything seems to go wrong…I don’t know why these things are happening…Everybody is against me…I’m always being attacked”. However, this is how it should sound: “We are hard-pressed on every side but praise God, we are not crushed! We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ! We are perplexed, but we are not in despair because we know all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His plan and His purposes. We are persecuted, but we are not abandoned because we know that God is with us!” When you pass through the fire, I am there. When you pass through the river, I am there (Isa. 43:2). To fan the gift within you requires an effort. If God has called you to preach, start to practice to preach. If God has called you to be a doctor, go and study. Whatever the calling is, stir it up, and do it with all your heart as unto God. Do not look at the obstacles that are in the way, look at the solutions!

Understanding – We come to the area of dreams, the destined purpose that God has called us to. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you (John 16:13-14). The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer needs to be understood more clearly. Jesus said, It is to your advantage that I go away (John 16:7). Why? Because the Spirit of Truth will come. In Revelation (1:4, 4:5 and 5:6), it talks about the seven Spirits of God; the seven horns, the seven lamps and the seven eyes. This is referring to the seven manifestations of the Spirit. The seven horns speak of ruling power. The seven lamps illuminate. The seven eyes speak of all-seeing. We see that the manifestations of the Spirit are to bring ruling power, to illuminate and that we may see beyond mankind. This is the job description of the Holy Spirit: “He will lead you into all truth” – He will illuminate. “He will tell you of things to come” – you will see. “He will bring glory to the name of Jesus” – you will rule with Christ, you will have power. These are the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10): the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are called the ‘knowing gifts’. The gifts of prophesy, tongues and interpretation are the gifts of speaking and seeing beyond mankind. The gifts of healing, miracles and power are the ‘doing gifts’. So, F.O.C.U.S. Focus on the gift that is within you. Focus on the right motive and doing it God’s way. Focus by looking at the right things and then, when you set your goals, your dreams, and the plans for your life, focus and meditate and speak to the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all truth.

Stability – Finally, when you look at the stability in our lives, everything rests on character. With all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; to your virtue, self-control; to your self-control, perseverance; to your perseverance, add knowledge; to your knowledge, brotherly kindness; to your brotherly kindness, love (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Be diligent; stir this up, work on it! If you have character, you will be able to face the risks of life. Stay focused, and you will discover that when your gifts, talents and abilities collide with the Holy Spirit’s purpose and plan for your life, you will come to a point of convergence – when you start to do everything in excellence. This is not for some special people; it is for each and every one of us. When you hear the call of the Spirit, remember: God has called us to greater things.

If you are discouraged, and you are despondent, and you are not achieving, and you know things are not what they should be in your life – hear the call. God will honour you, He will exalt you. Don’t separate the sacred from the secular, let them mix together. The only place where you can really express your gifting because you work all day is at work! It is a spiritual thing; whatsoever you do in word and deed, do it with all your heart as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23).

When your gifts, and abilities, and talents grow, you will look much better than you look right now. God’s destined plan and purpose for your life have to come. It will come. But it depends upon you starting to stir and fan that gift. Whatever you do, become the person God has called you to be!