When God calls you, expect the unexpected. Know there will be unknowns. God’s calling is never to settle you. Rather, it is often to rip you from your comfort zone so you no longer depend on yourself, your skills, and your own understanding. God told Abraham, in short: Leave your country. Leave your relatives. Leave your father’s house. Leave what you know. Leave the comfort. Leave the couch. Go.
God doesn’t mind waiting to deliver your promise until you prove yourself trustworthy in following Him during these times of testing. He wants to make sure you are ready for the promise when you reach it. He wants to make sure you are mature enough to handle it when it’s your time to have it. He wants to make sure you are positioned to retain it and manage it well, and that you won’t blow it.
I remember when I played in the NFL under Coach Bill Parcells. One of the first things he did when we came to training camp was adjust our stance. The stance for a football player is the starting point. It’s how you get ready before you go. But Coach wanted to fiddle with it. He wanted to address it, even though my stance was a position I had gone to for more than eight years by then. He didn’t care. He didn’t want us to rely on what had gotten us to that point. Because what had gotten us to that point may have worked in college and in high school, but this new level wasn’t either of those. The plays were different in the NFL. The players were different too. This was a whole other level and our stance needed to reflect that.
For some of us in our Christian walk, we need to change our stance. We need to change how we roll. We need to address how we make our decisions, talk to our spouse, or relate to our friends and family. We need to change our stance on how we serve in the church. We need to change our stance on how we deal with our money. We need to change our stance on how we spend time with God, in His Word, or aligning our thoughts under His. We need to change our stance in all of these areas because this is our shot in a whole new league—it’s called the Kingdom of God.
The spiritual warfare is different than the physical troubles we have known for so long. The warriors we battle are different. The weapons are different. The approach is different. In order to make it in this spiritual league, you’ve got to be willing to let go and leave all that you know if it is preventing you from experiencing the journey of greatness God has called you to live out. You may need to:
- Leave your thoughts behind.
- Leave your will at the door.
- Leave your history.
- Leave your hopes.
- Leave your perspective and your patterns.
Adjust your stance. Sometimes you have to leave the things you think you need in order to get the greatness you know you want. If it goes against what God says, leave it. Drop it. Walk away. Just put it down. Because anything that disagrees with biblical truth needs to go in order for you to get up, go and get what God has given you.
When you feel the Spirit prodding you to do something different, to be different, to go to a different place—and you’re uncomfortable with it— that’s a sign that you need to pack your bags and go. If you start to feel comfortable in a shackled situation, that’s a dangerous place to be. You’ll never get all that God has for you if you stay stuck to what you know.
Too many of us want assurance from God that the grass on the other side of the fence is as green as that which we are standing on right now, or greener. But the truth is that you must go before God will show. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Yes, it’s a stretching experience. No, there are no guarantees. But isn’t that what faith is all about? Faith is being sure of what you can’t see, not what you can. There are not those kinds of guarantees in faith, or it wouldn’t be faith.
What’s the Secret?
Ask yourself what thing or place or direction is your go? What have you been fighting, resisting, and maneuvering your way out of for years? Remember: When you go, God will show. He will pull your unique promise out of His pocket. And the moment He does you will realize that being with the Father is more valuable than anything else you were chasing or trying to hold on to.
Hot tip: God unleashes greatness on those who live by faith.
God is calling each of us to greatness in His kingdom. But we only get to experience it when we are willing to trust our very lives to the hands of our Father. We demonstrate this trust through actions of faith. We arrive at our promises by actions based on faith. Sure, we are saved for free, but spiritual maturity takes work. Salvation is a gift, but growth is a grind. You have to work at it. You have to obey what God tells you to do.
God has called you for greatness. He has a plan to unleash His greatness both in and through you. It’s bigger than you because it’s not just for you. That’s important to realize. Because when I look at this culture today, it’s one of the most narcissistic cultures ever. It’s all about me. Every show, every podcast, every post is all about glorifying self. We chase greatness in this country for three people: Me, myself, and I. But until you realize it’s not all about you, God will allow you to stay settled in the sameness. He won’t unleash you to go pursue all that is yours to have.
You need to understand that greatness doesn’t mean storing up blessings for yourself. Greatness is all about increasing your influence and strength in such a way that you can become a greater blessing to others. God told Abraham He would make him a great nation first, then He said He’d make his name great. It wasn’t the other way around. It was about the nation. It was about others. Abraham’s name would become legendary, yes. But not until God’s purpose of using him to bring blessing to others was carried out first.
But in our culture today, we’ve got it backwards. We want our name in lights first, before we’ll agree to be the light of Christ to those who need it. We want our back scratched first, before we’ll even scratch the surface in telling others what Jesus has come to do for them. We want our notoriety and crown on first, before we’ll pay homage to the King who rules overall. But His kingdom doesn’t work that way. That’s the wrong direction. In fact, that sounds an awful lot like the direction of this world.
I know you’re probably chasing some stuff right now. I know you’re pursuing your dreams. I know you have desires, ambitions, hopes, and goals for your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that, unless it keeps you from allowing yourself to be unsettled when God calls your name. Unless it prevents you from letting God pull you, push you, and direct you to where you need to go. Only when you are willing to stop pushing back on God and truly allow faith to start pushing on you will you get the greatness He has in store for you. Only then will you see Him reach into His divine pocket and pull out the divine promise He’s been wanting you to experience all along. Now . . . GO.
Excerpted with permission from Your Time is Now by Jonathan Evans. Copyright 2021, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Jonathan Evans is a pastor, speaker, mentor, and author who speaks passionately and powerfully about his relationship with God and has a burning desire to share his faith with others. He serves on the pastoral staff at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Dallas, Texas, with his pastor, friend, and father, Dr. Tony Evans. Jonathan has roles in both the local church and in the national ministry, The Urban Alternative.
Jonathan has a goal of building a legacy that leaves an impact. A dynamic speaker, he has shared at men’s conferences, youth events, churches, and other venues throughout the United States. Jonathan has also written several books, including Different, Get in the Game: A Spiritual Workout for Athletes (with Dr. Tony Evans), and Kingdom Family Devotional (with Dr. Tony Evans). Jonathan has also created powerful video and audio presentations to accompany his teaching, including spoken word videos that showcase his ability to deliver his messages with energy, creativity, and relevance.
Follow Jonathan on Instagram @jonathanblakeevans