Read His Words Before Ours!
The heady scent of roasted lamb mingled with melting wax as the disciples gathered around the low table with Jesus for another Passover feast. Though familiar, something entirely other stirred as Jesus prayed, broke bread, and passed the cup.
They ate, He served them, then, in sweet intimacy, Jesus prayed words of life over His brothers, these chosen ones…
You did not choose me, but I chose you. (John 15:16)
When I was eight, a recurring nightmare haunted me for 3 consecutive nights. In vivid detail, I watched a gunman murder me, but then, after multiple nights, I saw Jesus stand in the gap, dying the death intended for me. Jesus chose me to be His. He invited me to believe that, though my sin separated me from the holiness of God, He still chose to rescue me and pay for my sin.
Scripture is bursting with biographies of those God has chosen for Himself. He delights in transforming the ordinary and broken, the shame-filled and forgotten, into lives brimming with hope and purpose.
Each was called out, away from the life they’d once lived, awakened to a new existence and ushered in by the delightful choice of the God who longs for all to call Him Father.
I appointed you to go and produce fruit. (John 15:16)
Those who sit with me in conversation long enough to hear my heart know I’ve repeated, “I just want my life to matter.” Maybe it’s that I’m racking up the birthdays, or because my oldest is leaving home. The scenes of my life keep shifting and I wonder over and over, “Does this matter?”
The same love that motivated the heart of God to choose me, also appointed me, and all who accept His invitation. He smiles with pleasure as He intentionally floods each chosen life with purposed appointing. He appointed me to school my kids, gather women to study Scripture, make yummy meals (and some that set off the smoke alarm), and walk alongside my husband.
Here’s the incredibly beautiful thing about being appointed by God. It’s as variegated as African dresses and yet as uniformly connected as the constant elements of our universe.
Your appointment looks different from mine.
Zacchaeus was appointed to give away his possessions.
Levi was appointed to invite his friends to dinner, so he could introduce them to Jesus.
John was appointed to preach a message of repentance in the wilderness.
All who answer God’s calling of being chosen are lovingly appointed to bear fruit for His kingdom. Every fruit, regardless of shape or color, is seeded with love.
This is what I command you: Love one another. (John 15:17)
We’d been married for seven years and were tanking fast. My husband was pursuing his dream of seminary, and I was fighting demons from my abusive past. In the midst of my self-hatred and spurning of God, my husband announced he was leaving seminary to fight for me. He said he had no plans to return; that I was more important. What manner of love didn’t expect my perfection, but just loved?
No disciple of Jesus escapes His mighty call to allow love to color every aspect of life. Pouring the cereal, changing the diaper, shopping for groceries, arguing with your spouse, listening to a friend, going to church, making coffee.
All of it has been designed as an act of worship, of love.
When Jesus overturned tables, pleading others to know the heart of God, He loved.
When Paul surrendered his position to become an itinerant preacher, he loved.
When Lydia opened her home to missionaries, she loved.
Every one of Christ’s disciples were chosen and appointed to lead lives of lavish love.
If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
It’s not popular, this dying to self. Strange, isn’t it, that true, authentic, in-the-dirt-with-you love also carries the risk of ridicule. When we stand for the unjustly treated, when we invest in friendships with those of a different skin color, when we invite the trans-gender to dinner, when we sit at the bar with the promiscuous and hear their story, mainstream Christianity pulls back their religious garments in “righteous” outrage.
To follow Jesus is to fling wide the door of persecution, and understand that being chosen, appointed, and loved, means that suffering is worth it.
The faithful eleven who sat around Jesus that Passover night would all be persecuted for their faith. As they championed the kingdom work of spreading the news that God chooses, appoints, and loves, they would feel the knife of persecution.
But none felt it as deeply as Christ Himself.
All who follow Jesus with their whole lives are each chosen, appointed, loved, and persecuted, because Jesus was first.
This (Jesus) is my servant; I (God the Father) strengthen Him,
this is my chosen one; I delight (love) in Him. (Isaiah 42:1)
I will appoint You to be a covenant for the people. (Isaiah 42:6)
He (Jesus) was pierced (persecuted) because of our (humanity’s) rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5)
Sister, you, are chosen by the Christ who sacrificed Himself for you.
The God who crafted the color of your eyes has appointed you for good kingdom work.
The Jesus who sat at the Passover feast, sits with you now in the middle of your mess to say you are loved.
This same God knows that following Him results in persecution because it isn’t popular to love like Him. But He promises to fill you with His Spirit, strengthen you, and sing over you, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!