You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. (Jn 15:16-17 NLT)
When Beth and I accepted our call into missions and a subsequent appointment to TWR we chose this verse for our very first prayer card. There is a lot of great theology in these two verses to apply daily in our lives. There is also a possibility of misunderstanding. Such a simple, profound statement can open venues in our Christian walk and, if we’re not careful can put stumbling blocks on our path.
I find five astounding facts impacting my relationship with God and the world in these two short verses. The first, and perhaps the most humbling of all, is that we did not choose God. Instead, the second fact, God chose us, not the other way around. Yes, I believe in free will to accept the gift of salvation purchased through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
On the other hand I believe God calls certain individuals to special tasks. In this case He is the one who chooses us for the task. When we decide and tell God what task we should be doing I think we’re getting a little too big for our britches, as my Momma would say.
Beth and I did not choose mission work. In fact I was avoiding it for many years. It was only as God worked in and through our lives that we became aware of His special choice. My choice would have been much different. But we obeyed, pressed on and God has been guiding our steps year after year.
In our calling God appointed us to go and produce lasting fruit, the third fact. When God makes a special choice for our lives there is a purpose, there will be fruit. Thanks to God working in our lives we’ve be able to help enable the global distribution of the Gospel message.
We’ve heard from many who listened and responded to God’s marvelous offer of eternal life. Lasting fruit was produced not by us but by God. The interesting offshoot of obeying God’s choice is that the Father will give us whatever we ask in His name, the fourth fact.
I don’t think this is an unlimited credit card allowing us to fulfill every whim and desire that pops up in our minds. That would be selfishness and greedy on our part. I think He is saying that in the midst of obedience God provides everything we ask in order to accomplish the calling He has made in our lives. God doesn’t toss us into a ministry without providing the necessary tools to accomplish his purposes. It’s in His name and for His purpose, like a combination lock, that we can ask for anything and trust God will provide.
The last fact, one that permeates scripture from beginning to end, is the command to love each another. I always find it thrilling and a challenge that the command to love each other never contains qualifiers. Love, Jesus tells us, is the universal demonstration of a follower of Christ. Without love we are just noise in a world filled with noise. With love, we are like that candle on the hill shinning, in the darkness to guide others through the shadows into the light and love of God.
Have we chosen our work for God or allowed God to choose us for His work? In the work He chooses for us are we fruitful and relying on God’s provision to accomplish the work? Are we loving each other?
Let’s place our lives fully in God’s hands. I can assure you from my personal experience He knows much better what I should do than I. And I’m glad to let him take control.