Kingdom Area Code
Have you ever received a telemarketing call from an unknown number? Is the moon round?
I am reluctant to answer phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize, and especially those from an out-of-state area code. I figure if the call is important, the caller will leave a message. I haven’t answered a call from my mother in Florida in years. Just kidding Mom! (She receives these devotions).
When I don’t answer a phone call I am still worried it might be an emergency, so I check out the church data-base and make a few phone calls to assure myself this isn’t the case. If I can’t figure things out I call the number…from another phone.
You would think I worked for NCIS, but I trust you understand. I have been burned too often by unsolicited phone calls from strangers who leave me wondering if my personal safety has been compromised.
Is it any wonder we are reluctant to listen when God calls? It isn’t that we don’t care what God thinks, but rather that we aren’t sure it is really Him. What is the kingdom area code? 777?
There are plenty of people in our world who claim to have a word from God. They tell us He has asked them to write us a letter. I don’t understand how God speaks to many people through a form letter with mass-produced pamphlets advertising an investment opportunity. I am also amazed that God seems to speak at tax-refund time. How does He know? Ok, He knows. I’ll stop.
My point is I have become jaded when it comes to hearing from God. It seems I am more inclined to assume I am being scammed, or misinformed long before I seriously consider God might actually be trying to get my attention. If someone tells me the Lord asked them to speak to me, I instinctively prepare myself for a sales pitch. If someone tells me I need to inspect some facet of my walk, I suspect they are projecting their own weaknesses. And if I receive a letter from a Christian cause asking for funds, I jump on the Internet to check out the organization before I bother reading what the sender has to say.
I hope I haven’t disillusioned you, and I must admit I may have overstated my point. Perhaps I should say that “sometimes” I behave in the way I have described here.
How then, do I recognize when God is calling? My personal standard is His written Word. In a letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has revealed His will through the authors of the Bible and validated its authority by inspiration. Therefore, when God speaks through His Word, I answer. I am not claiming to be perfect in my obedience, but I cannot dispute the truth.
God also calls me through the direction of other believers who have proven to be purely motivated and conscientious in pursuit of scripture. Other believers can also err, but together we have the possibility of examining and discerning what God is teaching us in His Word.
As long as the Bible is my guide, I can filter through a lot of other spiritual advice. I might even read something in a form letter that reminds me of a biblical principle I have been neglecting. I am still not sure I will learn much from a telemarketer, but honestly, I can’t predict where God’s messages might come from. They might come from a child, a homeless shelter, a hospital bed, or the man who sells me my caffeine in the morning. As long as a truth is rooted in the Word of God it always has the potential of equipping me for a good work.
I wish all of God’s calls were clear, but I suspect they are clearer than I am willing to admit. The truth is there if I am willing to answer.