The Task of the Called

                In Jeremiah 1:4-10 we learn of God’s call on the life of Jeremiah. In that context we learn how God is calling all of us to Himself both for faith in Him and for serving Him in this life. We also learn how God always prepares those He calls. He never sends us out blindly. He always gives us exactly what we need in the moment that we need it.

                In verse 10 of Jeremiah chapter 1, we learn the task of the called. God gave Jeremiah specific tasks to do. These tasks are the same things that God calls us to do as we walk with Him daily.

                Root out. One of the keys to having a successful garden is to pull out the weeds. If your garden is full of weeds, the nutrients needed for the garden is sapped out. Weeds will also get tangled up in your plants and will suck the life out of them and cause them to not bare fruit. We all have things in our lives that need to be rooted out. There are weeds that entangle us and keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. There are really two primary weeds that often entangles us. (1) Worldliness. It is easy for us to get caught up in the trappings of this world. There is so much out there that is vying for our attention. Years ago, there was a story of how Satan works to distract believers written by an unknown author. I have taken that story and edited a bit to fit our modern time:

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.”

“So let them go to church. Let them have their conservative lifestyles. But steal their time so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ.”

“Here is how I want you to do this. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”

“But how shall we do this?” shouted one of his angels?

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent numerous schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work and the husbands to work 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their life-styles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or devices through bluetooth whenever they drive, to keep the TV, the streaming services, their music apps going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day and invade their driving moments with billboards and flashing lights. Flood their emails with junk mail, sweepstakes, and every kind of promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.”

“Keep their cell phones buzzing with text messages and alerts. Keep social media in front of them at all times as they compare their lives with others. Send game invites to their phones and distract them with the silliest of games. Draw them in to the latest youtube and tic tock videos.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from it exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week.”

“Don’t let them go out in nature. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion.”

“Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ and share the Gospel. Cause them to be wrapped up in social improvement projects such as feeding the homeless and collecting school supplies. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause.”

Well, in the end it was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments, causing the Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.

Has the devil been successful in his scheme? You be the judge.

Think about it. Just examine your life. How wrapped up in the world have you become? How much time do you spend on your phone compared to the amount of time you spend in prayer? Is there always some type of electronic device on in your home? Is your schedule filled with unnecessary activities? We need to pull out the weeds of worldliness in our lives and remove those things that distract us and keep us from our walk with God.

(2) Relationships. A second weed that entangles us is the weed of relationships. Sometimes there are people in our lives that keep us from fulfilling God’s call on our lives. We get entangled with those that have some of the same sinful tendencies as ourselves. There may also be toxic people in our lives and even in the church. Those who are constantly negative. Those who spread gossip. Those who plant seeds of doubt and despair. Those who are against everything and think they have all the right answers. Those who deceive and manipulate in order to get their own way. Such people can suck the life out of us and the church. These are weeds that need to be pulled. These are people we need to beware of and stay away from.

What do you need to root out? What weeds entangle you? Think about it.

Pull Down. God also tells Jeremiah to ‘pull down.’ When you think of pulling something down, you think of reaching up and pulling down something that is up high. You imagine something on a pedestal that is hovering over you. In the ten commandments God tells us to not have any other god before Him. He also tells us to not make any graven image or exalt anything above God. We all have idols in our lives that need to be pulled down. There are people that we think so highly of that we think they could never be wrong. Those people are idols. There are things we enjoy that occupy our time. Things such as sports or food. Infatuation with such things are idols in our lives. These things must be pulled down in order for God’s perfect plan to be fulfilled in our lives. In the church, it could be the idol of a pastor or church leader. It could be the idol of tradition and personal preference. It could be the idol of money in the bank. There are a lot of things in our lives that are not inherently bad. However, they become idols due to the high value that we put on them. If there is something that has become an idol in your life, you need to pull it down by repenting and putting that thing, whatever it may be, in its appropriate place.

Destroy. There are some things that we need to not just root out and pull down, but to destroy. The things we need to destroy is those sinful habits that keep us from experiencing God’s best for our lives. Sin has no place in the life of the believer. If we are going to experience real revival, we must not just confess our sins, but we must also repent of our sins. To repent is to turn away from something and turn to something else. We need to turn away from our sin and turn toward Jesus Christ. Confession of sin is easy. However, repentance is a whole other thing entirely. You may say, ‘but it is so hard. It is hard to let go. How do I repent?’ Repentance is not something that happens automatically. As much as we would like to just walk away from our sin cold turkey, it does not always work that way. Let me share with you a few steps you can take to destroy the sin in your life. (1) Pray. It is important to recognize that you cannot turn from your sin on your own. In your flesh, you have no power. Therefore, prayer is the key. You must call upon God to give you the strength to repent. You must ask Him to replace the desire for sin with a desire for more of Him. (2) A Proper Diet. Whatever sin you are prone to, you cannot keep feeding your mind with thoughts of that sin. You must fill your mind with God’s Word. As Psalm 119:11 says, “I will hide God’s Word in my heart, that I might not sin against Him.”  A daily diet of God’s Word is essential to having the power to repent from sin. (3) Determination and Discipline. No good thing can come in life without determination and discipline. You must develop a sense of determination that will lead you to living a disciplined life. Sin is a constant foe. We must always be on guard, and we must work every day to destroy the sin that so easily entangles us.

Throw Down. The task of the called involves rooting out the things that distract us, pulling down the idols that rule us, and destroying the sin that entangles us. However, another task of the called is to throw down. The Holman Christian Standard Bible uses the phrase: demolish. When I think of demolishing something, I think of completely removing it. Taking it out. There are philosophies of men that we are sometimes drawn to that we need to completely demolish. I am referring to false doctrine. If we allow false teaching in our lives and we fail to have a clear view of God’s Word, our entire life will be impacted by the lies of Satan. We must be on constant guard both in our lives and in the church that the very moment we hear something that is contrary to the clear teaching of scripture, that we immediately refute it and throw it down.

Build. The first four tasks of the called was more on the negative side. It’s all about removing things in our lives that don’t belong and protecting ourselves from the things that keep us from fulfilling God’s best for us. The next two tasks are, however, more positive in nature. The first of these positive tasks is to build. When I think of building, I think of progress. In our local area we see a lot of progress. There are new neighborhoods and businesses popping up everywhere. What about your life? Is there any progress? The Bible says that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Are you growing? Think about your life when you first believed on the Lord Jesus. Are you closer to Him today than you were back then? Have you progressively become more like Jesus?

Plant. When you plant something, you are reproducing. You are making an investment. It is taking what God has given you and planting that in others. This is what discipleship is all about. It is building in and planting. It is growing in our walk with God and investing in others. How are you investing in your children? How are you investing in your spouse? How are you investing in your co-workers or classmates? Who are you mentoring? Whatever God has called you to do, there is always an element of planting. We should be constantly investing in others in order to reproduce ourselves through them. The foundations that we lay and the legacies that we leave behind is carried on by those we invest in.

The tasks of the called is to root out the worldliness and relationships that keep us from fulfilling God’s best for us. It is to pull down the idols that rules over us. It is to destroy the sin that easily entangles us. It is to throw down the false teachings that lead us astray. It is to build our lives spiritually and to make progress in our spiritual development. It is to plant in others, to reproduce ourselves by investing in the lives of others. These are the basic tasks and responsibilities of those who called by God. Will you fulfill God’s call on your life today?

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