Isn’t it nice to be picked? Chosen? Wanted?
The ideas I’m writing about today came to me in a time of personal trial and testing. The Scripture verses for this article focus on being selected (see below). They talk about being picked, chosen, wanted. Many people have used this passage to start a debate on predestination. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am going to challenge you, even as I challenge myself, to respond practically to these concepts.
I have often written that each person should expect themselves to go first in matters of surrender to God. So, as the author of this article, I’m jumping in first – in front of you. Will you follow me?
Reality is not defined by my perception. I can’t always know what God is doing in and through my life. Yet, I can always ask myself good questions. Do I believe God is working all things for my good as He carries out His purposes? Am I still resolved to love and obey God, no matter what? (Jn. 14:15)
I do love the Lord very much. I believe I’m called by Jesus according to His purposes. Jesus gives my life meaning. Even though my decades have been full of challenges, loss, and pain – I have chosen to trust the Lord. Have I done this perfectly in all scenarios? Of course not. Yet, I’ve worked hard to learn, grow, and walk closely with God. I’ve found Him to be faithful. So – do I believe He works all things for my good?
In the stark broken reality of our world – my world – where I’ve sometimes felt slammed, disregarded, and even misjudged – that’s a good faith question. It can only be given a faith answer. My answer is – yes, I believe God does work all things for my good. Rarely do things turn out as I pictured in my mind. Yet, my experience has proven one thing: God is faithful. I will follow.
God knew me from way back – before He created anything. His plan was that I be conformed to the image, the character, of Christ. Jesus went to the place where character is forged in humanity, in front of me. He was slammed, disregarded, and misjudged. He walked through terrible times in His life. Yet, He was joyful and at peace.
Jesus is my older Brother in these harsh realities. Lovingly, He picked me. He adopted me into His family as His beloved. Jesus justifies, forgives, and changes me. So, I ask: Am I being conformed to His image?
As I yield to Him and practice His character, Jesus transforms me. When I practice His strides, He gives me the Fruit of His Spirit. He heals my heart and comforts me in my sorrows. He provides counsel and direction.
Even so, this process hurts a lot because the world is still so broken, and I’m so imperfect. And so are the people who have delivered blows. Yet, as I experience His comfort, He teaches me to forgive. He shows me how to pick pieces up and put them together again. Jesus gives hope through His Word. He protects my heart. He shelters me in the Shadows of Things to Come* and in the shadow of His wings. (Ps. 57:1)
Do you believe God is for you? In your current suffering, do you confess Christ and cling to Him? These are faith questions. I hope you will give an affirmative faith answer to trust Jesus no matter what happens. Since He is for you, no one can be against you – not in any way that lasts or matters. (v. 31)
God didn’t spare any expense on your behalf. His Son, Jesus, came of His own free will to prove God is for you. He proves God is loving, just, good, and faithful. If you are in a place of doubt or wavering in confidence, if you are deeply hurt or abandoned – plant yourself in faith answers. Be stubborn in the right way. Glorify God in your sufferings. He will take excellent care of you as you trust Him.
Some good questions to ask yourself – “Do I deeply love God for all He’s done for me?” Even when it hurts? Do I exercise courage and stay in God’s hope? Am I curling up in His love?
I’ve jumped in first – perhaps in front of you in exploring these things. Will you follow me? Perhaps you’ve jumped into a solid faith place already. I hope you have become stubborn in the right way. Wherever you are in your faith journey, let’s discover the faithfulness of God together – in all things – as we live this life. We have an older Brother who is with us in each hardship. He picked us. He picked you for Himself. It’s our move. Let’s pick Him back.
I want to invite you to get your own copy of a wonderful resource coming soon, right off the printing press. In fact, this blog article was developed for this fresh new resource. It’s Your Move: Strategies in Thinking From Romans is my latest book – a tool that opens your mind as you explore a 60-day study in the book of Romans. This intriguing New Testament book in God’s Word has influenced the entire world with a presentation of Christ’s Gospel in a clever, logical, strategic, and surprising manner. The daily studies set you up for your best strategies, choices, and patterns on the game board of life. When you get up in the morning, you need information and resources to help you make good, practical decisions. You need strategies in thinking, because – ready or not – It’s Your Move!
This article was developed from Rom. 8:28-32, STRATEGY #33 – “He Picked You.” Above are the front and back covers of my new book. I’ll let you know when it becomes available so you can order one.