Have you ever had a defining moment or what I call an Abraham Moment? You know what I mean, those experiences that clarify who you are.
Several years ago, God was teaching me to respond to His promptings. It was a beautiful spring day. I had finished a project when I had this sense in my heart that I should just go home early. I didn’t have time to start on anything new, so why not. I said goodbye to my boss and headed out the door 30 minutes early.
As I prepared to head out of the church parking lot, I had another thought, go home out through the country. That made sense. I could enjoy this beautiful spring afternoon.
Soon I came upon a wreck. Traffic was stopped. A new thought invaded my heart, park your car and see if you can help. This one I balked at. Emergency personnel were on the scene. I knew I needed to stay out of their way. Again the thought came. This time it was more forceful, PARK YOUR CAR and see if you can help!
I didn’t. A few minutes later an ambulance hurried from the scene. They opened up a lane of traffic and let us all move on through. I went home having lost all the extra time I thought I had gained leaving work early.
The next morning, I got a call from the hospital. An eight year old boy from our church was there. I jumped in my car and headed over. We talked for about 30 minutes or so. We laughed, we told jokes only elementary kids enjoy, I did some magic tricks, and we closed our time with prayer.
His mother followed me out of the room. She had a tough question. “We were in an accident yesterday afternoon. I was trapped in the car. They needed to take Mike to the hospital right away. He was scared but needed to stay calm. I prayed that God would bring someone to the scene who he knew to help him calm down. Why didn’t God answer my prayer?”
It was the hardest question I had ever been asked. “He did answer your prayer,” I said. “He had me there, but I refused to get out of my car and help you…”
That was an Abraham Moment. Since that day, I have sought to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life. It wasn’t easy at first. It took me some time to learn to recognize God’s leading. But over time, it has become more natural (see Galatians 5:13-26).
The bad news is too many people believe their failures define who they are.
I could have let that epic failure define me. But I didn’t. Instead, I learned from my failure. That Abraham Moment helped clarify who I am and my calling.
I call these experiences Abraham Moments because after 70 some years of following God, Abraham had been given his promised son. Then God asked Abraham the impossible, “Sacrifice your son.” This was a clarifying moment in Abraham’s life. It must have broken his heart, but Abraham believed God. God had made a promise. Abraham reasoned that God could even keep His promise if he sacrificed Isaac. After all, Abraham believed God could raise Isaac from the dead (see Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:17-19).
There is a difference between believing in God and believing God. The Bible says the demons believe in God and they shudder (see James 2:19). I can believe in God but it doesn’t change anything about me. The real question, “Do I believe God?”
Jesus said, “The time has come, the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). In summary Jesus is saying: Hey pay attention. There is a teachable moment here. The Kingdom of God is breakthrough into your life. Be transformed in your thinking and change your behavior. I, the King, have come to redeem what is Mine.
The word for believe means to trust. Practically speaking – it means action based on truth. Repent means to change the way we think. Believe means to change the way we act based on this new Kingdom thinking.
Religion believes in God. Faith believes God.
Abraham Moments are those times when you are swimming upstream to do what you believe God is asking you to do.
My failures do not define me. What defines me is believing God!
The good news: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). The only thing that matters is living a life of love because I believe God.
I believe God when He says that the greatest commandment is to love God and love my neighbor as myself. I believe God when He says you reap what you sow. I believe God when He says it is better to give than receive. I don’t need to go on. I am sure you get the picture: #livelove!
Abraham Moments help clarify who I am and my calling.
The Bible defines calling in Ephesians 2:10. Let me paraphrase it. My calling is what God has prepared in advance for me to do and me for.
You may be thinking, “I don’t have a calling.” Not many have a Damascus Road experience like the apostle Paul. When he was called, he was blinded by a bright light and knocked of his horse (see Acts 9:1-19). While that was a calling, it is not the usual way God works. However, if you are not listening, He will intervene to get your attention.
You may also be thinking, “I am not in the ministry.” Truthfully, not many are called into “the ministry” (that is vocational ministry). But we are all called to ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-16)!
Our calling is progressive. Abraham moments help us clarify our calling. We learn God’s calling for each season in our life as He reveals it. But we also have a life long calling. It is the aggregate of all the different seasonal callings.
I get asked all the time, “How do I recognize my calling?” Here are three questions, I think are helpful in discerning your calling:
- What breaks your heart? As you go about life, what draws compassion out of you? What makes your heart beat faster? Pay attention to these things. King Jesus is at work and He is inviting you to join Him in His mission to redeem what is broken for His Kingdom.
- What experiences have you had? God is always working in our life now and preparing us for what is to come. What experiences in your life have prepared and equipped you to do serve with Jesus to fix what is broken – to come along side someone to be Jesus’ hands & feet, shoulders, ears, etc.
- What opportunities are before you? Life is happening. People are literally going through hell everyday. Live your life with eyes open for where God is working and join Him in it. Opportunity + Availability = Kingdom Breakthrough.
Do you believe God?
The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love!