Hearing The Call
We admire the heroes of faith who are commended in Hebrews 11. How can we attain this level of faith so that God will commend us? The title of this article may seem cocky, as if I know the secret key. However, all I have to share is “a keen sense of the obvious,” as a good friend used to say.
To answer the call we first need to hear the call. The next pivotal point is either believing that the call is worthy of our allegiance or ignoring the call as unimportant.
While recently studying the Word, I have been impressed by these two essential elements of faith. Noah heard from God and acted in obedience, believing that this thing God called a flood was really going to happen. Abraham heard from God and traveled to an unknown land that God would reveal to him. All throughout Scripture, we see man acting illogically according to human terms, but believing that the calling was worthy of obedience. God calls those attentive to His voice, and He partners with them to achieve a task of divine significance.
Peter and Cornelius
In Acts 10 we see a great example for those who are passionate about spreading the Gospel around the world. The three main characters are Peter, the ambassador of Christ; Cornelius, the seeker; and God, the Holy Spirit interacting with both.
Peter was traveling around, being used by God to preach the Gospel. But God had a task for him that was outside of the book. God communicated with Peter to broaden his understanding of the call. At first, Peter wanted to say no to God, to defend his piousness and to remain within his comfort zone. While it didn’t make sense to Peter, God wanted him to step out and risk ridicule, to be willing to answer the call, because God said so.
On the other hand we have Cornelius, a seeker. He too heard from God and acted despite the risk of being mocked by others. He called his attendants and told them his vision. Today he would have been sent to a mental institution and diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. “Too much war is causing him to see and hear voices.” Yet he never doubted and he acted in obedience.
Not Always Convenient
I recently talked with a friend who pastors an evangelical church near a military base where a retired lieutenant came to Christ. Being in the military, he understands authority and obeys without asking questions. When he heard the command “go into all the world” he went. He didn’t go because it was convenient—he believed the command because of the Source.
Cornelius also believed and acted. He was so convinced that he gathered his friends and relatives even before Peter arrived. When the whole group heard the Gospel, they received the Holy Spirit. I get the impression that they believed the message was true before they even heard. Cornelius told them God was sending a man, Peter, to reveal truth to them. They accepted and then heard— hearing was believing.
Is hearing believing for us? Do we pick and choose if the call makes sense for us today? Do we hesitate if the call is out of our comfort zone, or not the way the church does things? Peter risked the wrath of the religious institution to follow the call of God, and Cornelius risked the mocking of men to find truth.
May we be attentive to the voice of God and always accept His direction. There are many seekers, like Cornelius, for us to encounter by the leading of God.