“In the church today, we talk a lot about ‘making Jesus Lord’ or choosing Jesus or making a decision for him. But Jesus spoke more often of his choosing us, appointing us, calling us out from the crowds. In other words, it is Jesus, not we, who plays the central role in God’s program. In fact, we’re taught that unless Jesus gives his personal permission, we can’t even choose him in the first place (Matt. 11:27; Lk. 10:22).
Many don’t like this point and try hard to find ways around it, but it’s still true. Both Testaments confirm the same thing. It’s God who first calls us, who first moves upon us, implants in us the desire for him, and then draws us toward himself by arranging the right circumstances, often in spite of ourselves.
What this means for us is that we’re safe. We’re secure in his care because he’s the Author of our salvation and we aren’t. It’s due to the Father’s choosing power that we’ll live fruitful lives and that our lives will therefore be brought in line with his will so we can receive his blessings as we ask for them. Incidentally, this is really what it means to pray in Jesus’ name. ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us’ (1 Jn. 5:14).
If we imagine that everything is up to us, we won’t be able to sustain a hopeful view of life for very long because it doesn’t take long to see that our own efforts are pretty ineffectual. Even our faith (what we usually congratulate ourselves for) is in reality a gift from God. He chooses to give it to us, and when we seem to lose it, he gives it back again. If we know that ultimately our lives are in God’s hands, that we are his choice, then we’ll find our hope-filled outlook in his predictably merciful and gracious character.”
TODAY’S PRAYER: Here’s one more reason to thank God for today. All his choices for us, whether pleasant for the moment or not, are for our good and were in his mind before the foundation of the world.
TJ Bates leads our prayer journeys on Theology Mix. A close friend of our admin staff, she's one of the most Christ-centered, hospitable, down-to-earth, fun, prayerful persons you will ever meet. TJ has spent her life devoted to serving God (knows everything you need to know about pastors, churches, and their ministries), and will drop everything and travel anywhere her help is needed. Everyone needs a TJ in their lives!