THE UPWARD CALL
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
At the start of every new year, Fraser and I enter into the new calendar year in prayer. As husband and wife, there is no prayer of agreement more powerful than that of a man and woman joined together in marriage covenant. It is the most intimate and sacred relationship before God after that of our individual and corporate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Together, with my husband as the prophet, king and priest of our home (Ephesians 5:25), we go before the Lord, not with our preconceived ideas, nor with our expectations or New Year’s resolutions, but with a resolute determination to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, and to then pursue His perfect will and plan for our lives.
The year 2020 will surely be one for the history books, a year that all of us will certainly remember, and 2021 seems poised to follow suit. However, we are more excited than ever to witness the timeless plan of God unfold before our very own eyes. Instead of worry and fear, we look forward with quiet anticipation and steadfast faith to all that He has purposed. With His Word as our rudder and His Spirit as our Guide, “whom shall [we] fear?”, and “who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Ps 27:1; Rom 8:33). It is paramount, now more than ever, for you as an individual or as a couple united in marriage covenant to pursue all that He has determined for you before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-5). Will it be easy? Absolutely not. You have an enemy, remember? But what does it say, “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:37). Such an amazing promise to stand on!
I’m not going to profess that Jesus is coming this year, or even the next, although it could very well be, as everything points to His imminent return. But one thing is certain; He is coming soon! Whether now, or ten years from now, He is coming! So, what will you do in the meantime?
In the books of Matthew 25 and Luke 19, we read the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Minas. Jesus tells the account of a Master who went on a journey, and of a Nobleman who went to a far country to obtain for himself a kingdom. Both the Master and the Nobleman left their servants in charge of their property and gave them the task of managing and increasing their possessions. Ultimately, those servants who did well and were diligent in their endeavors, were rewarded for their faithfulness with the talents/minas allotted them, and for their loyalty toward their Lord.
This sounds familiar, and points to a much greater matter. Let’s take a look at the words of Jesus in John 14:2-3 and in Revelation 22:12:
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
Sobering. And exciting! — Jesus is the “Master”, He is the “Nobleman”! What are we doing with the “talents”, the “minas” He has entrusted us with? Let us take account of our own lives now so that we won’t have to be judged harshly by His account later when He comes. Ephesians 2:10 says that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” It is up to each one of us individually, and as couples (for you have become “one flesh”; see Genesis 2:24) to discover the “good works”, the “talents”, the “minas” He has prepared for and entrusted us with for the benefit of His Kingdom.
There is no time to waste, there is no better day than today!
Jesus, our Teacher and perfect example, said this about Himself in John 9:4-5, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus then says this about us, His disciples, in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As long as we are in the world, we are the light of the world. We must work the works of Him who sent us. While it is yet day!
As with every new year, but this year more so than others before, Fraser and I have set our minds and our hearts on the mandate of the Kingdom that God has specifically spoken over our lives. We encourage you to do the same. Discover His will and then pursue it with all your heart! Letting go of every stumbling block, inhibition, excuse, and ultimately—compromise. Anything that stops you from fully pursuing and following His specific will for your life is undoubtedly compromise. This is the definition of the word by Oxford Languages:
accept standards that are lower than is desirable.
weaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable.
cause to become vulnerable or function less effectively.
You will never be effective in the Kingdom if you choose the way of compromise, if you lower His Kingdom's standards. Jesus is very clear; compromise is unacceptable. There is no middle ground. This is what He says to everyone with an excuse, or a seemingly good reason:
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
Your very life is a “mina”, is a “talent” not to be hid in the ground, for fear of what could happen or what others might think or say. Invest your life into the Kingdom today. The dividends will be wonderfully eternal!
Let go of every weight, every past fault or failure, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness, let go of all your fears and worries, or any other thing that has been holding you back. If you find yourself in a place of brokenness and utter despair, please read Fraser's article "The Road to Redemption" as it will surely encourage you to keep pressing through. Put your hand to the plow, keep your eye on the mark, and plow on through in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. I like the Living Bible’s translation of Hebrews 12:1, “Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” There is something particular God has specifically prepared beforehand for you to do. Run your race! And encourage others to freely run theirs too.
If you have not yet done so, go to your quiet place, wholeheartedly seek Him and ask Him humbly, “Lord, what do you want me [us] to do?” And then, do it, in a total act of surrender and consecration to the Lord. Regardless of what "could" happen next.
As for my husband and I, there is “one thing [we] do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead [we] press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
The Lord is coming soon and He is calling.
Say “Yes!” to the upward call of God today!
(Check out my husband's book Living a Supernatural Life on The Road Less Traveled - An Invitation to Radical Discipleship for the amazing account of his personal journey, as an encouragement for you to pursue the upward call of God in your life!)