Calling: Deconstruction for Reconstruction

I was having a conversation with a pastor who was also writing about this issue of the “divine call”. He said “I tell people that they don’t want to go anywhere near ordained/licensed ministry unless they are clear God is calling them.  That warm, exuberant, passionate emotion for christian ministry may or may not be God calling.“ Another young minister said to me that he didn’t realize how much of a challenge the ministry would be and how much of a cost it would exact from he and his family. A childhood friend of mine was just ordained to the office of pastor. On her Facebook page I offered this scripture (Hebrews 5:1-4) as a word of encouragement and challenge:
“Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”

Answering the call of God is no small matter – it costs you your life. As I continue to think on God’s call of Moses, I see a pattern of deconstruction for reconstruction that is necessary for anyone who will be effectively used of God.

Here I am (Ex. 3:4)- God may call, but that doesn’t mean that we have to answer the phone (or in Moses’ case, the bush). Answering the call begins with the simple, but frightening step of making yourself available to God. Most of us sense God’s gentle nudges towards our purpose, but sometimes we think that if we ignore Him long enough, He’ll get tired and leave us alone. It’s not until we yield our will (”Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening“) that God can begin to use us. But this yielding sets in motion a grinding, humbling, uncomfortable process of deconstruction.

Who am I (Ex. 3:11) – A new friend, Mo, is participating in a leadership development/spiritual formation program in our church. In response to my inquiry as to how it was going, she said, ”I am lost. I don’t know I am anymore.“ She went on to explain how God was challenging everything she thought she knew about herself. Becoming business partners with God can be dangerous to your self esteem. His greatness and perfection make us painfully aware of our own impotence and lack of qualifications. (”Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.“ Isaiah 6:5). When you yield to God and begin to experience His unfolding plan for your life, it can be overwhelming. But this is a necessary and unavoidable step. In the absence of this self-emptying, we will become self-important. We will rely on our own intelligence, talents and plans rather than wholly leaning on God.

Someone has said that because God creates ex nihilo, out of nothing, He must first reduce His servants to nothing before He rebuilds and uses them for His glory.
God spent four decades humbling and preparing Moses for his destiny. What a contrast between 40 year old self-sufficient leader and the 80 reluctant servant!

We are not ready to be used by God until we are convinced that he have nothing to give Him. Our call continues with a reconstructing of a worldview on the foundation of a self-existent God.

I AM (Ex. 3:14) – God has not called me because I have so much to offer Him, but because He has so much to offer me. I must reorient my sense of self and purpose around who He is and what He wants to do (”He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.“ (John 3:30 NLT). My purpose is to serve Him and bring Him glory, not the other way around. When we looked at and lived life from our own vantage point, knowledge began with our own personal ideas and efforts. But Proverbs 1:7 tells us that ”the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge… .“ We live for years being indoctrinated with a worldview that tells us that we are the center of the universe and that we are the captains of our own destinies. Being a servant of God requires a deconstruction of that flawed philosophy and a reconstruction of a life built on the foundation of the great ”I AM.“ Anything less is bound to fail.

Do you agree or disagree that this is a process that every person called into ministry must engage?
What did or does this process look like for you?
Is it a one time deal?

Please add your voice to the conversation.

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3 thoughts on “Calling: Deconstruction for Reconstruction

  1. Pastor Sonya Berry

    Well to start out with, I am that childhood friend who was just ordained to the office of Pastor. And yes I agree that that is the process. Not until we empty out our total self, self-will, self-esteem, and self-worth along with pride and ego has to go. Then and only then is God able to use us.

    I appreciated my breaking process, now God can remake me, re-fine me, re-create me into His image and with strength to go forth with all pureness of motives and intentions. I thank God for the trip to the potters house, and I know it will not undoutbtly be my last trip to the potters house. But each time I find myself on that wheel spinning, I know God is cutting something out of me, He is pruning me, and I thank God for it all.

    I really did not understand that I was running from my calling until a few years ago. Yes, I knew I was called to the Office of a Prophet, and I had the teaching gift, but Pastor I said. No not me. I am not no ones Pastor.

    You see, I understood what Pastors had and have to go through. I know Pastors have watch over the souls of others, but now God has moved me into that office. My God, my God I cried, now I have watch over all these souls. It was a lot easier from the stand point of a Prophet, because all I had to do was drop the word and let the Pastor do the cleaning up and comforting, but now I find my self in that role, comforting, soothing, and encouraging more so now than I have ever been.

    I continue to cry out to the Lord, help me, so that I may help others and be the under shepherd He has called me to be, true to Him and the people He has given me charge over.

    I continue to draw upon my life experiences as well as the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Because as my childhood friend has said, no man calls himself, the calling is from God and one must examine very carefully if one has truly been called. One no longer lives for self and family but for the Lord’s sake. Time, money, energy truly comes to reality here.

    But nonetheless, I thank God for the calling and recognize that when much is forgiven, much is required and will go forth and preach in such a way as not to disqualify myself.

  2. Steve Cross

    One of my favorite quotes says that “God cannot use a man greatly until he has wounded him deeply.” As was the case with Isaiah, until we truly see God and who we are in relation to him we will not be powerfully used by him. I am realizing the extent to which I must lean on him to accomplish his purposes.

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