READING: II Kings 8-10 James 4
Her name is Kristen. She is seventeen and she is beautiful, inside and out. Kristen is the youngest of four. Mom, Dad, a brother and two sisters comprise the rest of her family.
Kristen is an artist and her art takes various forms. One might find her seated at an easel with a brush in her hand or at a keyboard composing or playing and singing a song from her favorite artist. The last time I visited her church, Kristen was a lead vocalist on their worship team. Her artistry can also be seen in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on gourmet dishes and desserts.
Kristen is industrious. This summer she’s working part-time jobs to earn money for a July mission trip toMexico.
And, yes, she still finds time to be a happy and well adjusted teenager with many friends.
At a recent family reunion, I was flattered as she took a seat next to me. We small talked our way through the fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. Kristen kept me well supplied with the extras that I needed, especially the desserts. The chatter around us seem to suddenly subside when Kristen leaned against my shoulder and said, “Grandpa, tell me about your call. I want to know about the call.”
Having watched Kristen’s spiritual progress through her young years, I understood her question well. She had often heard her grandparents speak of their call at various times as we spoke and wrote the stories of our lives. It seemed to me that she had become aware of this mystical feature of faith as our family stories had been shared and re-shared.
This morning as I hopscotched my way through James 4, this fortuitous visit with Kristen resurfaced.
James, who is well known for his forthrightness, had a lot to say about the Christian life in general. He speaks of the quality of our prayers. “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” (v.2b)
In the next paragraph, James speaks to us about our relationship with the “world.” This suggests to us that there is a venue of the “world”, which can be toxic to our “Christ life venue. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (v.4)
Two important words appear in verse 7, SUBMIT, and RESIST. Submit to God and resist the devil.
In verse 14 James poses an important question, “What is your life?” he asks. And then he contrasts the brevity of life to an endless eternity.
Within her desire to have me rehearse my call, I understood that Kristen was investigating her own. Like those ahead and behind her, each generation who wants to follow God must be able to discern His voice. “Tell me about the call,” she asks. while considering the direction for her own life.
Good question, Kristen! Good parenting, a good church, and a heart after God puts you in good stead to hear the call.
Kristen, to you and to all of my grandchildren, God does have a voice. His voice is not always audible; more often it is not. His voice can be heard in Scripture or in music or in art or in serving or being served. It can be heard on the mission field or at home; in giving and in receiving. Sometimes it does come audibly when a human voice gives a word of prophecy. Yes, God does have a voice and He does speak today. It’s important that you listen–and that you hear.