I took the year after high school off to figure out life. And figure things out I did, to an extent. But with the answers I received came more questions.
For example, half-way through that year my church hosted their annual missions Sunday. And it was during that service I heard a very clear call to vocational ministry. But I was left with the question: what does that look like?
I was already set to attend a community college three hours away that fall. Tuition was free and I was going with my best friend. We even looked at apartments–it was happening. But not long after that missions Sunday I felt another prompting from the Holy Spirit to forgo community college and enroll in my church’s nine-month discipleship program.
This was perhaps my first significant “here I am, Lord” moment I’d had since salvation and baptism two years prior. I had a lot of questions and some fear wrapped up in the leap but I stepped out and towards God’s leading. That one, beautiful decision forever changed my life. And that was just the first of many “here I am” steps since.
The Bible records six men that said the exact phrase when God called their name. Six men throughout the Old and New Testament who said, “here I am” when purpose came knocking. They could have doubted, fought, or even fled when they heard their name called but they didn’t. They responded with a willingness to be used and moved forward in faith and obedience towards the call on their life.
Here’s a nugget for your day; a seed planted for a flourishing life. A “here I am” heart, spirit, and mindset can shift your trajectory just enough to significantly impact the world.
- Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and established a nation and a legacy that forever changed history.
- Both of Jacob’s “here I am” moments brought family reconciliation and generational healing.
- Moses pushed through his insecurities and broke strongholds to lead Israel out of captivity.
- It was this simple phrase that personally introduced Samuel to God and paved the way for him to be a steady and faithful voice to a restless nation.
- Isaiah proves how availability to be used by God can bring hope to the lost.
- Ananias fought fear to lead one of the most influential Christians to Christ–Paul.
Isn’t it amazing how three simple words can transform purpose and destiny? But what if these men had refused to respond or given up because they were afraid of the unknown? What if they had been unwilling to leave the comfortable?
Their lives are no more important than yours and God has just as much purpose wrapped up in your life as He did for them. God surely has moments mapped out to call your name and you must ask yourself, Is your “here I am, Lord” prepped and ready? Are you cultivating a spirit that is full of faith and obedience for the purpose set before you?
Truth is, it won’t be easy. Because God’s voice isn’t the only one calling your name. There are the external distractions in the world, other people, and from the enemy. But then there are also the internal voices of insecurity, fear, and doubt.
Desire what Elijah found in 1 Kings 19–the ability to discern that God isn’t in the obvious but in the gentle whisper. Tune into that frequency intimately.
How do you do that? There are three things you can start doing today to discern God’s voice.
- Read the Bible. Reading the Bible is absolutely the best way to learn what He is about, what He desires, and how He approaches life. If you want to learn how to distinguish God’s voice among all the other voices, you must be in the Word as much as possible.
- Pray. Prayer is a conversation between you and God, plain and simple. When you spend time with Him, coupled with studying Scripture, you learn a great deal about identifying His voice.
- Practice. One thing we see in an exploration of the “here I am” phrases is that the people who said it failed quite a bit leading up to their definitive moment. They failed because they struggled to identify God’s voice among all the other noises. They listened to the wrong voice and, in that failure, learned what wasn’t God’s voice. However, they stepped out in other situations and ultimately discovered what God’s voice was indeed. Practice honing your ability to hear His voice. The more you step out in faith, the more you will feel comfortable with His voice.
If you will commit to these three practices each and every day, you will surely start picking up on His voice over all the others. And when you do hear your name called, speak these three words full of faith and conviction: “here I am.”
Special Note: This article is pulled from the book Here I Am: Responding When God Calls Your Name by Brittany Rust. To learn more about discerning God’s voice and stepping out when your name is called, pick up a copy everywhere books are sold.