This was one of my favorite things to hear as a kid. Wake up on a Saturday and watch (which at that point was re-runs) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I loved this show (still love it too), and it taught me so much. Now for those of you who have never seen this show, I’ll give you the brief run down. An evil lady is awoken from sleep, so a giant floating head in a tube chooses five teenagers with attitude to save the world. Lost yet? Great! The show is silly and essentially has the same plot each episode (fight bad guy, bad guy grows, Power Rangers win by using their robot zords), but I think that this show is a great example of what we are called to do as believers. Now before you click away, hear me out. These were unique teenagers of every race that were called with a purpose, and they answered the call. This spoke to me as a kid, walking into the video rental store and watching VHS tapes of the show, and it speaks to me now as I walk through life knowing I have a calling, and wanting to fulfill it. The thing about this show, and of our walk with Christ, is we must allow God to change us. In other words, God says it’s morphin’ time.
Recently, with our youth ministry, I have been given the opportunity to co-lead an awesome small group with an awesome co-leader. The study is based on an Andy Stanley message series called, “Follow.” The core of this study is looking at the disciples of Jesus, and the way they simply chose to follow him. They had no prerequisites, they weren’t highly educated, and they weren’t even that well liked. In all of this, they were called by God, and followed. In my time with God over the past several weeks I have been praying on the fact that I want God to move me to where he wants me to be. I want to be all in when I follow him, but this requires some change. Now I’m not talking about changing your core personality and put on a Jesus mask, I’m speaking more of the change in your heart. It’s easy for me to ask God to use me, but selfishly my heart wants to choose for God to use me if it fits into my plan. God doesn’t ask us to do this, he wants all of us, the good and bad. Today I want to talk about answering that call, and the changes we must make when we go.
Leave it all behind.
Over and over in scripture we see people being called by God, and they leave everything behind. They leave their security and fall back options to give it all for God. I love the story of Elijah calling Elisha to follow him to do God’s work. After Elijah says that he wants Elisha to be his apprentice, in 1 Kings 19:21, it says his response, “So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” Look how incredible that is, he chose to follow, and didn’t want any reason to turn back to his old life. He burned what gave him security and safety, all to fully devote his life to Christ. Now this isn’t to say you should become an arsonist and burn things from your life, but what this is saying is that we need to leave our past in the past. We need to fill our lives with things that will build us up and lead us into the place God is calling each one of us.
Be prepared for war.
This is a difficult one. There will be troubles in your life. Over the past two years this has become very apparent to me. I have seen brothers of mine take their own lives, I’ve seen the power that addiction has on the lives of so many, and I’ve felt the crippling self-doubts on my life. We all have a story, a past, with things that hurt us and make us want to run away forever. We have a very real enemy in our midst, one who will stop at nothing to systematically break us apart. We must fight back, and we must have hope in the one who we are fighting for. In the midst of chaos and when we feel broken and dirty, God picks us back up and smiles. You see, God loves us, all of us. The mistakes, the tragedy, and the pain. He loves our very being, and he smiles because he has already won the war. He promises us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Even when we walk through darkness and feel the horrors of hell around us, we can simply call on the name of the lord, because he has won. We must prepare for the war every day, knowing that we have spiritual victory in his name.
Rejoice in trust.
Trust is a scary thing. We are living in a world that is filled with chaos, because we are disconnected from the God who created us. It can be scary to put complete trust in a being we cannot see, but it is the best thing we can do. It makes me think of my favorite book in the bible, Habakkuk. In this book, Habakkuk cries out to God asking him why there is so much pain and hurt, and God answers him. He asks Habakkuk “where was he when I created the world?” God has a plan in all things, good and bad. I wish his plan had every go great in our lives, but that isn’t the case. What is true, is that God has a plan for you and wants you to trust in him. At the end of the book, Habakkuk comes to the realization that in the midst of pain and hurting, he says in verse 3:18-19, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength.” This needs to be the cry of our hearts, that even when it feels like our world is coming to an end and there seems to be no way out, we can rejoice in the Lord. He is our strength, and wherever he calls you, you can trust in him.
We have all been called by God. He made each of us in his own image and he loves us so much, more than you or I can even fathom. He has called each of us, with our past and talents, he calls out to each of us. We need to take up the calling. We need to change our old ways, leave the past behind us and step into the future that God wants for each of us. Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. We need to leave what holds us back behind, we need to be prepared for the war we fight each day, and we must rejoice in the fact that we trust in a sovereign God. God is calling us, and we should follow him no matter what it takes. We need to change our minds from being me focused, to God focused. We need to change our old ways of being selfish, to asking God to move us.
God’s plan is so much more powerful than we can imagine, so it’s time to change. It’s morphin’ time.