Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jesus Chooses, Not Us

Even after all these years I still find it amazing that God chooses to use the foolish of this world to confound the wise. Unfortunately the "wise" choose to see the vessel instead of hear the message and reject both. I am not referring to the world here. I am speaking of the Church. We still don't get it. We don't get that God uses whoever he wants whenever he chooses. We don't get that it has little to do with education and much to do with obedience. We don't get that it is not about our talents and everything about God's anointing. We don't get that Jesus' chooses us, we don't choose Jesus, when it comes to calling and purpose.

The apostle Paul was a foolish man when he was called Saul. To the Jews he was a success. He was a young scholar, learning under the best, filled with zeal for Israel. He was so zealous and ignorant of God that he actually attacked the one he supposedly loved and served. Jesus looked at this man who hated the Church so much that he set his mind upon destroying it, and chose him to bring to the world the gospel of grace. Grace was nothing new, but Jesus was about to bring Saul to a greater revelation of it than anyone else had ever received. But here was Saul, a great persecutor of the Church. What would Jesus do?

Jesus did for Saul the same thing he has done for all of us; he reached out and allowed him to make a decision. Perhaps Saul's encounter with Jesus was a little more dramatic than yours, but then again Jesus really needed to get his attention. Jesus met with him, revealed his glory to him, appointed and anointed him for his task. Saul became Paul, the great herald of the gospel of grace. Paul never forgot this moment. He never forgot the charge given to him. He never took it lightly:

And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. (2 Timothy 1:11)

We don't get to decide. We don't get to choose what we feel comfortable with and do that. We don't get to tell God what we are willing to do for him. We are servants. We listen for the Master's voice. When he appoints us he equips us. The last thing we want to do is try to walk in a calling that is not ours, trying to do it in our strength and ending up destroyed. When we are called by God for what we must do, we will look back at that moment again and again to remember it was not our choosing but God's. It makes a big difference when you end up suffering for that calling. In your strength you will quit and run away. In God's strength and energy you will stand your ground and remain faithful to the task.

Too many people are choosing their own calling. Too many people are operating in Jesus`name but lack authority. Too many people are being destroyed, quitting, walking away because they chose and were not appointed. It looks so simple at the beginning. It looks like a simple choice but you have no idea of the trials, persecutions, suffering that marks the way. In the Lord we have joy and peace but if you have chosen that path for yourself you are facing destruction.

Set your mind and heart on things above and listen. Listen for the Master`s voice and obey. It does not matter the task we are called to. The only thing that counts is faithfulness to that which we have been given to do. Obedience, faithfulness, determination, going the distance is success in our calling and it is possible because we were chosen.

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