Title: WHAT IT TAKES TO BE USED BY GOD
Text: Isaiah 6:1-11
Gloria and I had just emptied our nest of the last bird; our youngest son, who left for Seattle. If you’ve ever experienced a child moving far away, you know the special set of emotions that go with it. Relief that the last one is launched…grief in their departure…and concern that they are ready to face the world on their own. Though his departure was emotional, we both had peace about his departure. It was because he felt the call of God to go to Seattle. And I know if God calls him, God is going to be watching over him and will take care of him. Time revealed that indeed it was God’s call and things worked out well in his life.
I know what it’s like to hear the call of God. I’m thrilled my son heard that call. Sensing God’s call on your life is critical to keep going when things get stormy. It’s like a gyroscope in a ship that keeps it upright. Without it a ship can be easily swamped in a storm. The same is true in your life when you sense God’s call…it keeps you upright.
I’ve found three essential attitudes necessary to be used of God. I discovered six of them when I looked at people in the Bible that had the right stuff….the attitudes I was looking for…they all said, “Here I am!” when God called them. Who were they?
- Abraham (Gen.22) He responded with “Here I am” when God called him to sacrifice his only son.
- Jacob (Gen. 46) He said, “Here I am” when God called him to uproot his entire family and move to Egypt.
- Moses (Ex.3) “Here I am” was his response when God called Moses at the burning bush to deliver Israel.
- Samuel (1 Sam. 3) Samuel said, “Here I am” when God laid a heavy burden upon him of rebuking Eli for raising corrupt children.
- Isaiah (Isa. 6) When called upon to deliver a difficult message to the nation of Israel, Isaiah said, “Here I am.”
- Ananias (Acts 9) Ananias said, “Here I am” when God called him to restore the sight of Paul and prophesy about his future.
If you are hungering to be used by God, there are three essential attitudes necessary for God to place a call in your heart. Listen and take these to heart and you will find yourself being used by God. Read Text.
Willing to Listen
1. Are you a good listener? Would those around you say so?
2. Let me ask a tougher question. What would God’s response be…would He give a good report about how you listen to Him?
Insight: We are all quick to cry out to God to ask something that we can obtain on our own, but sometimes it’s another thing to stop and just listen to Him. If we don’t stop talking and just listen, He can’t direct our heart!
3. What were the circumstances surrounding Samuel when God called his name in 1 Sam. 3:1-19? (It was in the middle of the night. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” We need to be willing to get out of bed in the middle of the night for a divine appointment.)
Insight: We need this attitude even in the middle of the day when our schedule is busy. If we want to be used by God, we can’t say, “Hold on God, I’m busy tending Your sheep.” Samuel simply said, “Here I am” and listened to God.
Willing to Go
1. What do your think God’s administration task is like? Would you like to fill His shoes for a while?
Insight: Not all the things God may call us to do are something big and grand, but each is important to the Kingdom of God. Only God knows whether offering someone a cup of cold water may lead to a conversation that will plant the seed for a harvest in days to come.
2. Does God ever ask us to do difficult things? Would He ask you to do anything that is impossible?
Insight: Philippians 4:13 says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But He needs someone to speak to those who are sinning or hurting others. And when there’s a temptation to shove aside, we know it is God speaking in our heart.
3. The hearts of the children of Israel had become hard and they would not listen to God. What was Isaiah’s attitude when God called him to speak to them? Isa. 6:8-13
Insight: I love attitudes like that! God can turn around nations with an attitude like that!
4. The opposite attitude is reflected in Jonah when God called him to do a difficult thing. How long did it take before Jonah changed his attitude and respond to God’s call?
Insight: A change to some uncomfortable living quarters quickly changed Jonah’s attitude to where he was willing to deliver a difficult message to a hostile enemy. But the lesson here is that God DID go ahead and use him…a whole city was saved as a result of Jonah’s preaching!
Insight: When God calls us to do something difficult, He’s already at work ahead of us. He just needs our willingness to go…and it will result in something beautiful in the Kingdom of God!
Willing to Sacrifice
1. Of all the examples in the Bible, did anyone get their name recorded respond to God with half an effort? What does it take to give your all? (A willingness to sacrifice; He wants us to give our all.)
Insight: In this world that shouts, “I want it all, and I want it now,” those who respond to God’s call stand out like a light on a hill. They stand out because they are willing to deny their self, deny their plans and agenda, and take up their cross to follow Him.
2. What was the “magnitude” of Abraham’s willingness to follow God in Gen. 22:1-14?
Insight: Perspective is needed here…for many years they had tried to have children. Abraham deeply wanted a son, and a son was provided by the miracle of God in their old age. God even made a promise to him that there would be a blessing to many generations out of his seed. Here he is about to sacrifice the only son that would carry on his seed.
3. Do you see any indication in Scripture that Abraham thought twice about his decision? Do you think Abraham calculated the cost of obeying God?
Insight: Unflinching obedience, regardless of how much the cost of the sacrifice is an attitude that God honors with miracle breakthroughs! Though the task may be difficult, God will make a way where there seems to be no way…He works in ways we cannot see.
Six great men of the Bible heard God’s call, were willing to listen, willing to go, and willing to sacrifice. Those are the three attitudes YOU must have if you want God to use you!
When God calls, be willing to say, “Here I am! Send me!” and you will see God work through you to do awesome things!
Still feeling some reserve? Then listen to the passage of God’s call to Jacob. Gen. 46:1-4 (“Don’t be afraid to go…I will be with you…I will do something great ahead of you…I NEED YOU…will you go?!”)