Have You Answered the Question and Call of God?

[I] have a question for you:  Have you answered the call of God for your life? It’s a question worth asking. And an answer worth pursuing. For summer reading, I’ve been immersed in the New York Time’s bestselling biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in years. It’s also provoked the question and call of God on my life in a deep way.

Metaxas offers a compelling chronicle of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s courageous life as a German pastor who stood up against the Nazi regime at the cost of his own life.

As I read this morning, one quote stood out in particular that I hope will encourage and challenge you. Bonhoeffer writes…

Bonhoefferpastormartyrprophetspy

Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God–the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.

I have to confess that this quote rattled me in a deep place. Bonhoeffer starts with the question, “Who stands fast?” His words provoked a whole series of questions inside me. You might be asking some of the same questions…

Who Stands Fast?

In our American age of consumerism, celebrity-ism, and every kind of “-ism” that seeks to attach our hearts and minds to anything, but God, who really stands fast? How do we stand fast in Christ? How do our lives reflect an authentic image of God’s grace and truth?

Who is Ready to Sacrifice All?

Unlike our brothers and sisters across the globe who face persecution for their faith, here in America, who is ready to sacrifice all in Christ and for Christ? Much could be written about the American worship of individualistic ideals based upon our “reason, principles, conscience, freedom or virture.”

Bonhoeffer challenges us to abandon our reason, principles, etc., to pursue obedience and allegiance to God. And God alone.

What Answer Are You Giving?

Who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God? Now we’re swimming in deep waters.

Making our whole life an answer to the question and call of God is truly a radical statement. It begs the questions, “What statement am I really making with my life? Does my life offer truly life-giving and life-affirming answers in how I live, treat others and respond to the call of God?”

The camp doctor who witnessed his execution wrote, “In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God. that he had never seen a man so completely surrendered to the will of God.” (See entire quote)

Here in America, too many followers of Christ wrongly believe that they will never be given an opportunity to die for Christ.

This simply isn’t true.

You and I have now, today, the opportunity to die to ourselves to live in the true freedom found only in “exclusive allegiance to God.”

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died,and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

Questions: What is your response to Bonhoeffer’s words? How do these questions challenge you and I live differently?

I’d love your thoughts and comments.

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  • Anne

    Joey, In I Cor 15:31, the Apostle Paul said “I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”  I have heard this discussed on many occasions.  If a person can come to a place of humility, with strength and purpose, on a daily basis, then when harder times come from unforeseeable outside influences, that person will be ready.  Further, whatever we pour our attention, time, money and influence into becomes our God.  When our attitudes seek altitude first, God can use the actions more fully.  When we die to ourselves and our own agenda first thing in the day, then any good thing that comes from our efforts becomes His and can become perfection.  I noticed in reading about this great man that both good and bad influencers used him as a hero.  While I am sure this would not have pleased him, it proves that a man sold out to God cannot help but greatly impact his world.  

  • http://www.joeyo.org Joey O’Connor

    Anne, your words are so timely and so well-written. In finishing Bonhoeffer, I am now revisiting his “Cost of Discipleship” for which he is most famous. Interesting, he wrote ‘Discipleship’ at a young age, which became a precursor for the ultimate sacrifice he would make.

    “I die daily” is such a foreign concept to our American culture, which is filled with its convoluted sense of ambition independence, rights and entitlements. Freedom comes when we are detached from those things that cling for our allegiance, which we all too easily give ourselves over to.

    Humility. Strength. Purpose. Death…those are good words! Thanks for sharing!