Clowns & Callings

He was called a “clown of God,”[1] and anointed with the Holy Spirit that in one case, reported by an eye witness, touched a blind man and he was immediately healed.[2] Tens of thousands were saved through him in just a couple of years. He was instrumental in the development of two of the fastest growing denominations of the 1980’s. So were the many spiritual adventures of a hippie preacher who later died of AIDS, Lonnie Frisbee.

The Bible is full of stories of men whom God mightily used whose character and personal life were less than exemplary. The Hall of Fame chapter of God’s great warriors, Hebrews eleven, reads like a Who’s Who of indiscretion, lying, and suspect behavior. Abraham lied about his wife and, if not for God’s intervention, she could have been sexually violated…twice! David, well we know his story of adultery and murder all too well. Even Samson is mentioned. Samson, who violated his Nazirite vow, married a Philistine woman and later a prostitute, constantly went back on his word, bullied his parents and everyone in his path, yet it is written, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily.”[3]

What is the correlation between God’s calling, gifting, anointing, and our character? What can be said about God’s unique plan of gifting and our choices of walking in holiness?

My answer may surprise you but I don’t think there is any correlation! None, zero, zip. I don’t see any connection between God’s sovereign calling and anointing and our character. The Bible convinces me that God even seems to use the most notorious clowns of this world to confound the wise. Jonah? Rahab? Peter? Matthew? You? Me? Are you kidding? He chose you and me. In spite of all our pride, arrogance, and rebellion, He chose us?

God’s grace extends to the most broken of this world and without consulting our opinion on how things should be done, He calls out men and women for His purposes that no one else would choose. God looks past our faults, weaknesses, and sin, inviting us into His adventure.

But lest I be misunderstood, I do see a correlation between the favor of God and our character. Though the “gifts and calling of God are irrevocable,”[4] the favor of God is not. It was said of Jesus, that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”[5] Favor from God is earned through choices we make in our relationship with Him. The favor of God can be temporary.

In the case of Lonnie Frisbee, his anointing could only take him as far as his character would allow. The favor of God and man eventually lifted over Frisbee and his ministry faded. David’s choices cost him. Samson died a broken man in a Philistine prison.

Jesus saved us into an intimate relationship with Him. In John fifteen Jesus invites us into the most deeply intimate, loving relationship known to man—to abide with the Lover of our soul, the Creator of our hearts. He promises that if we will abide in Him, He will abide in us, and we will bear fruit, not unlike branches abiding in a vine. In one of the most telling passages in the entire Bible, Jesus gives us the secret to a life of fruitfulness, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”[6] Abiding in Christ is daily surrendering to a deepening love relationship with Him.

With a deepening love relationship with Jesus comes His favor resulting in His glory. As we study the Word, we discern His voice and He equips us for life.[7] In walking in the Spirit, we experience the fruit of His love.[8] This is the kind of fruitfulness that God desires. You see, God is looking for clowns like us to defy the odds so that He can receive greater glory.

On the road,
Steve

Blog: www.steveholtonline.org

The Road: www.theroadcs.org

[1] cited in www.inplainsite.org

[2] Henry Cutrana, “Christian musician,” in www.inplainsite.org

[3] Samson’s life is found in Judges 13-16

[4] Romans 11:29

[5] Luke 2:52

[6] John 15:4

[7] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[8] Galatians 5:22-23