When a Calling Becomes Spiritual Paralysis

When a Calling Becomes Spiritual Paralysis

Article from John Paul Jackson this month on his website. It seems JPJ is challenging us to not over-wait on God. He believes that most people want a step-by-step plan from God on what to do next — when all the while, God has told us all he’s going to at any one stage of or life or ministry.

Some followers of Christ can get so wrapped up in pursuing the details of His direction that they ignore the “road signs” of His calling that He has put right in front of them. They don’t realize that in many cases, He has already prepared them for the journey, and all they need to do is move forward.

Take a look at some of the heroes of the faith. Gideon was told he would defeat the Midianites. He was told to kill the second calf, tear down the altars of Baal, send home anyone who was afraid — and 22,000 men left, which dwindled his army to a mere 10,000. Then, to prove a point, God separated out the remaining men and sent home 9,700 more. Gideon now had an army of 300, and apparently, the only instruction God gave him was to sneak down to the Midianite camp to be strengthened “if” he needed it. That was it; that was all the direction Gideon received. Yet he and his small group of soldiers attacked the eastern tribes who had come against Israel and killed 120,000 men.

Before Gideon, there was Abraham, who was told to go to a land promised him by God. But he was never told how to get there. Then there is the case of Elijah, who, during a harsh drought, was sent by God to a woman in Zarephath — a woman God had prepared to take care of him. But when Elijah got there, the woman had no clue what was going on. She had one meal of flour and oil left for her and her son; then they were going to die. God said He had prepared her, but she had no idea Elijah was coming. What kind of “preparation” is that?

My point is this: Too many times we expect God to tell us more than He plans to tell us. As the days and years pass, we often find ourselves wondering when He is going to give us clearer direction. I will do what You want me to do, God — I just need to know how. You have told me to take these steps, but I don’t know how to start. Could You give me specifics? Details would be great. I’ll go forward the moment You tell me what to do.

Frequently, it seems to me that God tells us what to do in the beginning (He gives us His vision), then He places within our hearts everything else we need for the choices we will have to make in the journey, even down to the way we sling our sword in the midst of the battle. Conversely, if we wait until we have all the answers before we take any action, we won’t get very far, and we’ll eventually find ourselves sitting down and doing nothing. There, in that place of spiritual paralysis, we quickly atrophy and wonder why the prophecy never came to pass. We are waiting on God, and all the while, God is waiting on us.

Can we move forward presumptuously? Yes — but only if we do more than God said or add to what He said. Admittedly it is a fine line, but those sensitive to God’s voice will not cross it. They will feel the check or nudge of the Spirit before they go too far.

God wants us to reach what we were meant to reach, to be the people He created us to be. Just as He gives a way out of temptation every time (1 Corinthians 10:13), so He will prepare us to do what He has for us to do, whatever that is, every time.

We live in a day and age when we must be sensitive to God’s immediate plan. If we wait to start the journey until we have all the answers, we may find that we are full of potential but never achieve that potential. It is sad to see a life wasted for lack of movement. I have seen that far too often.

What is the difference between a mediocre life and that of a champion? One significant difference is this: When they know God has spoken, leaders and champions go toward the sound of His voice. Not all of them know how to get there. For some, not even the next step is visible. But they know what has stirred their hearts — the draw of the Holy Spirit that directs them toward a goal — and they fully believe that what God has said, He will do.

Sometimes it is good to wait for God to give us details. But often, He is waiting for us to trust Him and make the next move.

4 thoughts on “When a Calling Becomes Spiritual Paralysis

  1. Inspired thoughts inspire…
    thank you

    God wants us to stretch
    Upwards… reaching
    He knows our life’s sketch
    And leads the humble… seeking

    He will stir the heart
    Softened for a journey
    Through faith…He imparts
    According to our needs

    Like the prophets born of old
    Who did as God does say
    Miracles do unfold
    Blessings often come our way

  2. Hi Kelly
    Thanks for the comment and poem. But can you tell what LDS poetry has to do with the article?

  3. Hi Mark,
    I guess I should explain… I thought you had been to my blog. Somehow, I ended up reading this post. I felt inspired to write this poem based on your words. I too had been pondering this topic. Can we ever read or talk enough about the words of God and Jesus Christ and of how they stir the spirit inside us? Thank you for your comments- if you ever feel a need to express something in poetry form- I would love to try.. Some of our doctrines are different but the love, service, and desire is there. God bless

  4. Hey Kelly,
    Sorry, I don’t remember visiting your site but technology doesn’t lie so I probably did. Because I go to a lot of sites it’s possible that I simply don’t remember…but my wife says that a lot about me. (c:
    I will say that I do enjoy your poetry. I think it’s a wonderful gift. Thanks for sending it on.
    It is true that we do have quite a difference in doctrines. It’s a significant difference, in fact, because of our differing views on Jesus, His position, deity and authority. As you know, He is at the center of the doctrinal debate between Christianity and Mormonism. For instance, Mormons believe the same thing that all the other religions do, (except Christianity), that Jesus is NOT Mighty God, the Heavenly Father. In that respect, Mormons are quiet similar to those of the New Age, Muslim, Budist, Jehovah Witness and other faiths. In fact, Christians, are alone among all believers on the planet that believe that Jesus and the Father are literally one and that Jesus was at the beginning of time.
    Because no one can go the Father except through the Son, a proper belief and view of Jesus’ deity is essential. The Mormon Jesus is not all knowing, all powerful, omnipresent, and did not pay for our sins on the Cross. But the Christian Jesus is and did!
    I know that because of the different experience of literally being saved and having Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in us, we Christians will have spiritual experiences that are quite foreign to Mormons.
    While we may use many of the same words, because of our Christian, spiritual experiences, we define them quite differently – “Grace” being one significant example.
    I would be happy to answer any questions you have. I know much about both faiths and have quite a history with members of the Mormon Church. If you’ have questions, just ask!

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