37. WHEN GOD CALLS US TO SEPARATE OURSELVES
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 2)
When God calls us to separate ourselves from something, someone, some place or some people, it is because he has a purpose for our lives, which he intends to work out, apart from the crowd and apart from the familiar.
This call to separation requires us to leave our comfort zone in faith, faith in the one who is leading, that he has somewhere in mind for us to go and he is well able to get us there…in HIS timing.
In Genesis 12, God called Abram to come out of his father’s house, unto a land that he would show him. Notably, God did not tell him then and there where he wanted to take him but he required Abram to separate himself in faith unto Him, to submit himself to Him and move forward under his leading, in faith that God would get him to the place that He (God) desired.
In obedience, Abram departed, having not a clue where he was going or where he would end up. Yet, he trusted the one that was leading.
Many years later, his descendants, the Israelites were similarly called by God to come out of Egypt, God orchestrating their departure and promising to take them to an undefined land, flowing with milk and honey.
If I recall correctly, he did not tell them beforehand where this land was but wanted them to trust that he was capable of getting them to this place, which was not imaginary but real because God had promised.
These two examples with Abram and then the Israelites, bring to the fore the following lessons:
1. When God calls us to separate, it is not done so nonchalantly or for no reason.
Like with Paul and Barnabas in the New Testament, who God separated from the rest of the Church at Antioch, when God calls us to separate, it is unto a divine purpose.
In Acts 13:1-4, it reads:
- “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers…As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
This leads me to my second point.
2. What God calls us to separate from is not always bad company.
In the case of the Israelites, the Egyptians were ungodly people with worldly philosophies and habits and God separated his children the Israelites from them, unto holiness and holy living. Similarly, today, he commands his children today to do the same and to separate themselves from all ungodly influences, habits, people and places. However, the call to separation is not always from the bad but sometimes, even from the good.
For example, like we saw with Abram, sometimes God will call us to come out of a familiar place that is not bad in and of itself but because it runs counter to his purpose. Sometimes he will call us to come away from close family, friends and familiar ties, so that he can have us to himself and work out his purposes for our lives, free from the distraction that these can sometimes bring.
Practically speaking, he may, for example, call you to come out of one Facebook page where all your friends, family, acquaintances and even enemies exist and create another, free from distractions, for the Ministry purpose to which you are called or he may have you come off of Facebook altogether.
In the case of Abram (who became Abraham), God stated of him in Isaiah 51:2, “… for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.”
Interestingly, God gave Abram the call to come out alone but he tried to take Lot, a close family member that he obviously loved greatly with him.
Genesis 12:1-2, 4-5 states:
- “Now the Lord has said UNTO ABRAM, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing…So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; AND LOT WENT WITH HIM: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son…”
Not surprisingly, a conflict later arose between Abram’s herdmen and Lot’s herdmen, resulting in the men amicably parting ways, so as to preserve peace between them and their herdmen. It is clear that God allowed this conflict, so that Abram could be separate from Lot. For, God had called Abram alone and where he had called him, Lot could not go with him. In fact, it was only after Lot had separated from Abram that God showed him the land he had promised him.
Genesis 13: 14-15 state:
- “And the Lord said unto Abram, AFTER that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”
This highlights an important point: Sometimes, God will not reveal the place he is taking us and what he is doing in our lives or give us a glimpse into our future, until we separate from the person, habit, place, thing or people he desires us to separate from.
In the case of Paul and Barnabas, God called them out and away from the people of God in Antioch, as his purpose for their lives could not properly be worked out if they remained among the rest of the church at Antioch.
It reminds us that God’s purpose for our lives (one which he planned before the foundation of the world) is higher and more important than even positive relationships that we have nurtured with God’s people and desire to maintain by remaining in close proximity.
God sometimes calls his children out of one Church assembly, not necessarily because he is displeased with that Assembly but because he has a work for that person or family to do in another place or another Assembly or even another country. It is therefore important that we do not get comfortable in life in any one place but be always open to the Spirit’s leading. God reserves the right to uproot us and move us, as he sees fit.
3. When the call comes, God does not usually tell us where exactly he plans to take us.
He therefore requires us to come out from where we are by faith and to submit ourselves to his leading by faith, confident that the land or the place or the purpose of which he spoke is real, that he has the ability to give us the guidance we need to get there and that he will do so, in his timing.
Hebrews 11:8-10 states:
- “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
4. The journey to where God will have us to be, may not be a bed of roses.
We can expect trials, difficulties, opposition and challenges along the way. We may be confronted with Abimelech-like situations or enemies may rear their ugly heads, trying to thwart us from the path to the Promised Land. Indeed, the path may have treacherous bends, take much longer than we anticipated, require us to dwell in tents, deny our own self-comfort, satisfy ourselves in gratitude with the Lord’s interim provisions and exercise patience as we wait.
However, we can rest assured that, after all has been said and done, that God has somewhere beautiful in mind. Once we submit with the right attitude, he will get us to the place he told us about and in his divine timing.
(Written on 08th September, 2020, added to on 12th September, 2020)
Dear Reader, if you found this Note to be beneficial or interesting, I recommend that you also read the following Notes on my neighbouring ‘BROKEN Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 18 – ‘What Is God Calling You To Cast Out Of Your Life?’
- Note 17 – ‘Just One Thing May Be Holding You Back’