God’s High Calling for Ordinary People

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I think the majority of Christians would like to escape to some safe, quiet hideaway in the mountains to keep from being tainted by all the iniquity surrounding them. Many despair, saying, “What can one Christian do about all this moral degradation? What can one church do in a wild and wicked city?” Others think, “Is there really anything I can do, an insignificant Christian like me? I have no money, no training, no influence. I only have a great love for Jesus.”

We often expect God to move in one of two ways: by sending a large, supernatural outpouring of his Holy Spirit to sweep multitudes of people into his kingdom, or by sending judgment to bring people to their knees.

Beloved, that isn’t God's method of changing things in an evil day. His way of rebuilding ruins has always been to use ordinary men and women, filling them with his Holy Spirit and sending them into warfare with great faith and power.

God is raising up a holy ministry consisting of people who are totally committed to the Word and to prayer. They do not lord it over anyone. They are caring men and women whose hearts are stirred with no plan in mind but to seek, hear and obey God.

Next, God is calling you into immediate service. He needs the common man and woman. He uses people whom the high priests would call “uneducated and untrained” (see Acts 4:13). Scripture also says that in the Upper Room at Pentecost, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). They all became bold, powerful witnesses. This group did not just include Peter, James, John and the other well-known disciples, but also widows, young people, and ordinary working men and women!

We know that Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost, "full of faith and power” (see Acts 6:8). He was not an apostle nor an ordained minister. He served tables for the church so the disciples could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Like Stephen, you can be God’s witness to your city. The Lord uses all those who get alone with him, are stirred in their hearts and seek him in prayer. Go forth, full of Holy Ghost faith and power!

Handcuffed to Jesus

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Paul often refers to himself as “the prisoner of Christ Jesus.” In Ephesians 4:1, he says being a prisoner of the Lord is actually his vocation, his calling! He considered this God's gift of grace to him (see Ephesians 4:7).

Paul wrote to Timothy: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8, NKJV). Even into his old age, the apostle rejoiced in having been apprehended by the Lord and taken captive to his will. “Yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you – being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1:9).

Paul could tell you the very hour that the Lord handcuffed him and took him captive. He was on the road to Damascus with letters in hand from the high priest, bound and determined to bring back Christians to Jerusalem. He was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), full of hatred, bitterness and anger in his misguided zeal for God.

As he approached the city of Damascus, “suddenly a light shone around him from heaven” (Acts 9:3). He was struck completely blind by that light, which was Christ. Paul testified again and again how he had to be taken by the hand and led into Damascus, a helpless prisoner. He spent three days in an isolated room without sight and without eating anything. He'd been taken captive in spirit, soul, mind and body.

What happened in that room for three days? The Lord was handcuffing Saul and transforming him into Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ!

In this vivid scene, Paul lets go of his independence and submits to Christ's yoke. He stretches forth his hands to Jesus to be handcuffed for life. You can almost hear his agonizing prayer: “O, Lord, I thought I was doing your will. How could I have been so blind? I've been going my way, doing whatever I thought was right. I can't trust my own thoughts.”

My prayer is “Here, Jesus, take my hands and put your manacles on me. Take me prisoner to your will and lead me wherever you want me to go. Keep me handcuffed to your mighty right arm!”

He Will Restore Your Wasted Years

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

How many years did you waste before you repented and surrendered all to Jesus? How many years were eaten up by the cankerworm of sin and rebellion? Now you know you are forgiven, but wouldn't you love to get back those years and live them for the glory of the Lord?

In his final days, Paul looked back over his life and testified, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NKJV).

Paul says, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). In other words, “Forget your past and press on in Jesus!”

Satan's favorite form of harassment is bringing up your past to scare you. He will try to persuade you that an old addiction or lust is going to rise up in your heart and take you back to the old life. He’ll use every weapon in his arsenal to bring you down with fear.

It’s true that you may feel the pangs of remorse as long as you live. Yes, the memories will keep you humble, but in God's eyes, your past is a dead issue. “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…my great army which I sent among you” (Joel 2:25 NKJV). As far as condemnation and guilt are concerned, God says, "Walk with confidence and freedom into the future!”

We see a picture of such restoration in the New Testament when Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. “Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other” (Matthew 12:13). You see, when Jesus restores you, he also heals the wounds.

Beloved, take those old wounds — the worries and regrets about your wasted years — and let God restore to you all the years that were taken away. Press on toward the prize of your high calling in him!

Just for the Family

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there” (Genesis 43:30 NKJV).

This is the heart of our Savior, even toward the sinful. Joseph and his brothers were eating and drinking in the same room, but he sat alone. We dare not pass lightly over this statement. These men were taking a meal in Joseph's presence without being fully restored and without a revelation of love and grace.

We can be in the Lord's presence and still feel unloved. Many Christians will go to God's house to sing and worship, then go home to the same old lie: “God doesn't show me any evidence that he loves me. My prayers go unanswered. He doesn't really care about me the way he cares for other Christians.”

Joseph’s brothers had acknowledged their sin, but they needed to be totally at the end of their bitterness and human resources before Joseph could reveal his love to them. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). The brothers were not yet brokenhearted (see Genesis 43:34) so he put them to a final test. As they were leaving for Canaan, Joseph told his steward to slip his personal silver cup into the sack of Benjamin, the youngest brother. They were hardly out of the city when Joseph's men overtook them and accused them of stealing the cup. They were so certain of their innocence that they said, “With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves” (Genesis 44:9).

There was no more fight in them. No more pride. They were humbled, broken; they cried out, "We give up! We surrender."

Then came the revelation of love. “Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, ‘Make everyone go out from me!’ So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers” (Genesis 45:1). They now had a sense of family, of unconditional love and acceptance. The world can hear about God's love, but only family can experience it.

Beloved, God dwells within the humble and brokenhearted. He delights in his family. He has loved us all these past years, even when we were sinners. Rest in his love for you.

The Joy of Sharing Your Faith

Gary Wilkerson

Many Christians in the Western world feel uncomfortable sharing their faith. Some don’t evangelize because they feel like everyone more or less knows about Jesus. Others say that they live out their faith without needing to preach it.

However, Jesus told his followers, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV). Jesus’ disciples actively preached the gospel. Guided by the Holy Spirit, they prayed for strangers, accomplished miracles and shared Jesus with everyone in every circumstance. They were radical and relentless.

How can we follow the disciples’ example in today’s world?

We who live in Christ walk even as he walked. The Acts of the Apostles aren’t just inspirational stories and historical record. Neither are they a dry template for evangelism. They are just the beginning of the story, and now it’s our turn to write our chapter. Jesus knew this when he said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Our desperate, anxious world wants to hear what Jesus has done for us! They want to know that today, two thousand years after the apostles lived, they too can know the joyful, transformational love of Jesus.

There is something contagious about being around people who love Jesus so much that his love just flows out of them. I call it a baptism of love. They don’t feel obligated to share the good news. They have been spending time in the presence of God and they can’t help but share the joy of their salvation.

People with this contagious love have decided, “I'm not going to just read my Bible anymore. I want to live it.” They realize that the Book of Acts never really ended; it is meant to continue today. They have had a literal “come to Jesus” moment where they were finished with clinical, academic approaches to evangelism. No more how-to instructions and formulas, no more sweaty palms and stilted conversations, and no more being attached to the results. It’s just you — my neighbor, co-worker, Uber driver, friend — and me, someone who woke up excited to share the joy of knowing Jesus with you. “As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:15).