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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Did We Choose Christ or Did He Choose Us?

John 15:16 (NIV)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Did Jesus choose me or did I choose Him? It seems like we are asking the question of which came first: the chicken or the egg. Does it matter? Well, yes, it does when it starts to affect my actions or reaching other people.

Some people will stop sharing Christ with others when they believe that their witness makes no difference. What difference does a witness make if it all depends upon whether or not Christ has chosen that person? There are two reasons I believe that I also chose Christ. I do not negate that He chose me. I add that I chose Him.

We must consider the culture of that day. A potential disciple would search and seek out a teacher who would teach him what he wanted to learn. That is not what happened with Jesus. He prayed all night and chose His disciples. But, also remember the story of the rich, young ruler. Jesus told him that he needed to sell all that he had and follow Jesus. Yes, Jesus took the initiative. He made the offer to the young man but the offer was rejected. This example tells me that, while it was important that Jesus chose the rich young ruler, the young man also had to choose Jesus.

The construction of the Greek gives a slightly different meaning than is so often translated in the English. The word translated "not"  modifies "you" not choose. The translation would be closer to the original meaning by saying, "It was not you that chose me" rather than "You did not choose me." The difference is subtle but substantive. The latter gives us the impression that we have not chosen at all. The first leans toward saying that it was not our initiative in the choice. In other words, we can choose after He has made His choice but we still get a choice.

It is clear through our own experiences and Scripture that Jesus makes the choice before we make our choice. In fact, there could be no one who will choose Him that He has not chosen. His choosing is active. He works to move people into our path to lead us to Himself. He uses circumstances, prayers and the witness of others to bring us to Himself. He has chosen us but we do not necessarily choose Him.

Our choice is evident in our fruit. We are to bring others with us to Him. We should see others come to Him because He has chosen us.

Our choice is evident in those who will remain faithful. In fact, there is much evidence that those who fall from the faith may have never truly come to the faith in the first place. Our fruit must be genuine for it to be His fruit. Those who come to Christ should remain in Christ or they have never come to Christ.

Our choice is found in our prayers. We should hear His will so that we can pray in His name. This is not merely giving suggestions to God for the things we would like to see. It is asking on His behalf for the sake of those He loves. In other words, our choice is made most evident through those we have led to Christ. It places us in partnership with Him so that we want what He wants and, therefore, receive what He wants us to receive.

Did we choose Christ or did He choose us?


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