Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...

Divine Invitations

Divine Invitation
In our Christian journey, we are met with a wide range of experiences that challenge and stretch us.

These moments, at first glance, might seem like hurdles, yet upon closer reflection, they unfold as divine invitations from God, calling us deeper into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We’re not adopting an optimistic view through rose-tinted glasses here; it’s a profound spiritual truth embedded in the fabric of Scripture and the heart of the gospel message. It’s actually good news, but you have to take a step back to see it.

Divine invitations in the old testament

The Old Testament is awash with amazing and inspiring stories of individuals who encountered God in profound ways, often through challenges that seemed insurmountable. Moses, standing before the burning bush, faced not just a physical phenomenon but a divine calling that would lead him—and an entire nation—out of bondage (Exodus 3:10). This moment, initiated by God Himself and filled with awe and uncertainty, was an invitation to trust in God’s power beyond human capability and in the face of absolutely overwhelming odds.

Before Moses, Abraham’s story illustrates this theme in a gripping way – called to leave everything familiar behind, he stepped into the unknown, trusting in God’s promise of blessing. His act of faith was not just a journey across physical landscapes but a spiritual voyage towards, despite his impossible circumstances, becoming the father of many nations (Genesis 12:1). We need to take Abraham’s story to heart and let it resonate in our own lives – his story is a testament to how God transforms our greatest challenges into opportunities for blessing and deeper faith.

Another faith-stirring example is the fall of Jericho (Joshua 6:2-5). The Israelites, facing formidable walls and a seemingly impossible battle, were commanded to march, be silent and then, when the moment was right, to shout! The victory that followed wasn’t a testament to their might but to their obedience and God’s power. Each of these narratives reveals a consistent theme – that God’s invitations often come heavily disguised as challenges, leading us into deeper dependence and trust in Him. They search our hearts and all of them call for a response; will you trust God?

The Gospel Message – also a divine invitation

Closer to home, in the New Testament, the embodiment of God’s ultimate invitation to humanity is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel message is not merely a historical account like a mission statement on a wall or a profound oil painting in a museum; far from it – it’s a personal call to each of us. Jesus Christ, through His work on the cross, offers us salvation, a restored relationship with God, and eternal life. The complete works!

Consider the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7). A simple request for a drink of water becomes the backdrop for one of the most profound theological revelations that has been the subject of many thousands of sermons: the offer of living water, or eternal life through Christ. This riveting story brilliantly illustrates how Jesus meets us in our everyday needs and extends an invitation to something far greater than all we could imagine.

Another example is the feeding of the five thousand (Luke 9:13). It’s another vivid illustration of Jesus’s ability to take our meagre offerings and multiply them wildly beyond our understanding. The feeding of the 5000 asserts to us that in God’s economy, what we perceive as our insufficiency, or lack or inability becomes the perfect vessel for His sufficiency.

The famous “The Sermon on the Mount”, particularly the call to “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), encapsulates the gospel’s demand for righteousness—a standard we can never achieve on our own. Yet, in the same breath, it points to the cross, where Jesus achieved this perfection on our behalf. Through faith in Him, we are invited into this righteousness, not as a burden but as a gift of grace. It’s an encouraging divine invitation that is irresistible!

Responding to the Invitation

The Christian journey can clearly be seen as one of responding to God’s continuous invitations for deeper communion with Him. Those invitations are relentless. Each day presents a new opportunity to experience Jesus in more profound ways, whether through scripture, prayer, community, or service. These are not mere religious activities but avenues of grace, designed to draw us deeper into the heart of God. They constantly lay siege to our hearts, calling us ever closer to God.

Even the command to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons raises the same tension for us – we cannot – but He can; working in and through us!

How do we live out these ‘divine invitations’ practically? Firstly, by recognising that every challenge we face is an opportunity to trust God more fully. Whether it’s a personal struggle, a professional setback, or a global crisis, each situation is a moment where God invites us to see His hand at work, to experience His peace that surpasses all understanding, and to witness His power to redeem and restore.

Secondly, by embracing ‘community’. The Christian faith was never meant to be lived in isolation. Just as the early church gathered, broke bread, and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42), we too are called into fellowship. It is within the body of Christ that we find support, encouragement, and accountability—essential elements for growth and maturation in our faith. It’s a place where we hear the testimonies of others who have faced similar challenges, and hear how God came through for them in the most remarkable, astonishing, or unexpected ways.

Lastly, by living missionally. Jesus’s command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) is not just a directive for a select few but a commission for all believers. Our lives are meant to be lived outwardly, as a reflection of the love and grace we have received. This means seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God (Micah 6:8), demonstrating the transformative power of the Gospel through our words and actions.

As we reflect on the divine invitations woven throughout Scripture and manifested in the gospel, we are reminded of the incredible journey of faith we are called to embark upon. This journey is not marked by a destination but by a relationship—a dynamic, living communion with Jesus Christ, who invites us into an ever-deepening discovery of His love, grace, and truth.

In light of this, we can approach each day with open hearts, ready to respond to God’s invitations with faith and obedience, attentive to the ways He speaks to us, through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. And let us live out this calling with courage and conviction, confident in the promise that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

In doing so, we find that our journey is not one of striving but of surrender; not of earning but of receiving. It is a journey marked by grace, powered by the Spirit, and anchored in the hope of the gospel—a hope that promises not just a future glory but a present and living reality of God’s kingdom here on earth. This is the essence of the Christian faith, and the invitation stands open to all: to come, to see, and to experience the boundless love of God through Jesus.

Divine Invitations
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