Saturday, April 16, 2016

Calling You Out

by Andrew Cromwell

Have you ever been called out? If you have, you know that sinking feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach as your name rings in the air and all eyes turn to you to see what your response will be. On June 12, 1987, then President Ronald Reagan called out Soviet Premier Gorbachev in a very public way when he demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The eyes of the entire world turned to Gorbachev to see what he would do, would he follow through with his promises of peace and openness?

Being called out demands a response. As I read through the pages of Scripture, I see a constant theme there of one person calling out another. Jesus had a way of doing this that was incredibly powerful. He would through down the gauntlet and wait to see how people would respond. He never picked a fight and He was rarely insulting. He didn’t do it just to get a rise out of people. He called people out because He knew they were capable of something more.

There are three ways that Jesus called people out in the Bible and, I believe, He calls you and I out in the same way today. These three “call outs” demand a response. He doesn’t do all three at once but progressively calls people to a higher level of commitment.

The first way is that He calls out for people to step toward Him. Jesus declared, “if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” This is the first and most important decision we must all make when it comes to Jesus Christ. Either we see Him as the source of living water or we don’t. This first step is a step of response. Jesus comes to each and every man and woman and child and makes the offer. We don’t have to do anything to receive the invitation, but we do have to decide what to do with the invitation.

This first step is also often the most difficult step. Getting started generally is. Richard Evans said, “the tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.” There are so many things we need to do in life, but the problem is that we have to begin. If you want to go to the gym tomorrow morning, it means that you’re going to have to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. But it is so much easier to hit the snooze button!

There are many reasons people don’t respond to Christ — past hurt, false expectations, fear — whatever the reason is, it must be overcome if you want to begin on the road of relationship with Him.

At almost the exact instant that a person responds to Christ, He makes a second “call out.” This second step is to step away from other things. Even as we step towards Christ, He demands that we step away. He said, “if anyone comes after me, he must deny himself and take up his Cross daily.”

This is a step of separation. Jesus Christ is a separator. He separates our calendar into two and He separates His followers from the crowd. To follow Christ is to be different. It means declaring allegiance to the Kingdom of God and renouncing citizenship to the Kingdom of this World. There is a different lifestyle that is required. If Christ-followers aren’t different, then they aren’t really Christ-followers.

The final call out demands a continual response. When Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water, Peter called out and asked if he could join Jesus. Jesus’ response was, “Come.” In that moment, Peter had a decision to make. Would he step out on the water and risk sinking or would he stay seated in the boat. He was the only one of the twelve in the boat that stepped out, and he was also the only one who walked on the water.

Christ is always saying, “Come.” He says, “come closer, don’t be satisfied with where you are at because there is more.” There is always more with Jesus and He always demands more. Following Christ is a journey, not just one step. And is is always encouraging us to take another.

What is the one step you need to take today towards Christ?

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