“You did not choose Me but I chose you” – John 15:16
God Chose You
There is tremendous comfort in knowing that I am not in control. It comforts me that I am on this planet by God’s choice and not my own. Yes, it’s good to know that it is God who chose my gender, my color, my size, the components and attributes of my personality, the sound of my voice, etc. And because God is the author of my existence—and I did not muscle my way into this world—my life has true validity. I take up space on this planet by God’s authorization.
Jesus tells the disciples in this verse that, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their following Jesus, it is He who chose them. They did not choose Him.
In the early chapters of the Gospel of John, we read that John the Baptist pointed John and Andrew to Jesus (John 1:35–40). Andrew brought Peter to Jesus (John 1:40–42) and Philip brought Nathaniel to Christ (John 1:45–51). Yet, regardless of the people instrumental in bringing them to Jesus, it was Jesus who drew them and chose them. Being an apostle was not their idea. It was God’s.
Therefore, no matter what difficulties awaited them as apostles, they could always draw comfort from this fact. Theirs was not a “mess” they had gotten themselves into. No, but even the bitterest of circumstances were purposeful and by God’s will and choosing.
Or, in the event that their lives did not appear as promising and fruitful as some of the other apostles, they never felt under pressure to “prove themselves.” Christ’s choice of them was all the proof and validation they required. They did not initiate their role as apostles. Jesus had begun it and would bring it to perfection.
God Made You
Consider Philip. In John’s gospel Philip is the only one of the apostles whom Jesus personally sought and found (John 1:43). Yet Philip is portrayed as one of the least promising of Jesus’ followers (John 6:5–7; 12:20–22; 14:8–9). But no matter how lackluster his performance seemed or what criticism he received from others, none of that mattered. All that mattered was that Jesus had found him and chosen him to be an apostle.
It’s the same with you. You had no choice about coming into existence. It was ultimately God’s decision. Oh, sure, your parents made it possible. But God could have placed you in any family in the world and at any moment in human history. But He chose this time and place. And even though your conception and birth were “in the usual way,” it was God Himself who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13–16).
So it was God who chose your gender. If you’re a man, it’s because God wanted you to be a man, to do the things that only men can do. If you’re a woman, it’s because God wanted you to be a woman, to do the things than only women can do. And if your skin is light or dark, guess what? God decided that also. God also chose your eye and hair color. In addition, God chose your body configuration and whether you should be large or small or slender. If you’re an extrovert, it’s because God wanted you to be so. The same is true if you’re an introvert. God has a purpose for your specific personality and gifts. Therefore, the biggest part of accomplishing God’s will for our lives is simply being ourselves—the person God made us.
Only God Matters
Yes, you will be challenged by others who will tell you there’s something wrong with you. They will judge you because you don’t fit their conception of the “ideal person”—who usually resembles them. But their opinions matter nothing. Only God’s opinion matters. And whether you like yourself or not, God is thrilled with who you are. And why not? He’s the one who designed you from eternity and eagerly looked forward to your arrival on this earth.
Therefore, there is never any need for you to apologize for yourself or to feel like you’re intruding on someone else’s space. For God chose you, that you should be yourself and use your peculiar gifts and talents to bless others. You are here on God’s authorization and orders. There’s never any need to secure approval and validation from others. God’s choice of you is all the approval you’ll ever need.
Dear Lord Jesus, I live so much of my life with a sense of illegitimacy, as though my life has no validity or authorization. But how can I believe this when You clearly tell me that I did not choose You, but You chose me and ordained me that I should go forth and be a blessing to others. Help me, Lord Jesus to only seek and find my approval and validation in You. Help me to understand that Your opinion of me is wonderful and is the only opinion that matters. Amen.
In order of photos in appearance: Marines search for hidden weapons in Afghanistan by U.S. Marines licensed under U.S. Gov Works
Uniform repair in Iraq by U.S. Army licensed under CC BY 2.0