The Upward Call of God

Those who desire to follow Jesus must be ever attentive to what the Apostle Paul refers to as “the upward call of God.” Answering it is a lifelong process of continually choosing to separate ourselves unto Him. It necessitates leaving behind everything that hinders us from fulfilling His purpose. In the book of Hebrews, we are given insight into this separation process at work in the life of Moses, as he was being prepared to fulfill his calling as the deliverer of the Israelites out of Egypt. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 NIV).

Supernatural Help

If you read the preceding verses in this passage, you see that Moses, in his heart, was separating himself from Egypt long before he actually left. It led him to sacrifice fleeting earthly enjoyments to pursue unseen eternal rewards. With all the allurements of the world around us, that is not a choice that comes naturally or easily. But Moses, like each of us who desire to separate ourselves from such things, had supernatural help. We are told that the key to his perseverance was that he saw “Him who is invisible.” When God draws back the veil in our lives, allowing us to see Him as our creator and the lover of our souls, a God who has a plan for us far exceeding our wildest imaginations, choosing to leave all else behind becomes a “want to” and not a “have to.” It is a transcendent, life-changing experience, just as it was for Moses. It launches us into and sustains us in a life of serving Him and His divine purposes. It’s been said that “only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.” That is why we find the confession in this familiar praise chorus so faith-affirming.

I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back, no turning back.
The cross before me, the world behind me, No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.

Forgetting What Lies Behind

Choosing to follow Jesus and saying “yes” to “the upward call of God” begins by casting off the shackles of our past. Paul explains this saying: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NASB).

“Forgetting what lies behind” is only possible through the grace of His forgiveness. That alone enables us to make peace with our past failings. Breaking the restrictive power of our past is necessary to effectively leave it behind. In doing so, it frees us to reach “forward to what lies ahead.” Moses had to do this in reckoning with his false start in trying in his own strength to be Israel’s deliverer when he killed the Egyptian, who was persecuting his countryman. Having done so, during his exile in the back side of the wilderness, God then appeared to him in the burning bush and renewed His “upward call” upon Moses’ life. Just as it did for Moses, that call has a way of reprioritizing everything in our lives as we are called higher into His purposes.

The Power of “One Thing I Do”

Is God calling you higher into His purposes? His goal for us in pressing forward is for you and me to discover our true nature in Him. The Apostle Paul describes this as being “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Choosing a “one thing I do” singleness of focus on God’s calling in our life has the power to transform us into the person we were created to be and position us to be used by Him to transform the lives of others.

Father, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of Your upward calling in my life. Take me, mold me, fill me, and use me for Your purposes today! Amen

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