Many people do not realize that being called is just the first step in a long process of being chosen, and remaining in why they are called and have been chosen.
People settle into their calling because they discover their identity in it, but many fail to realize their identity is only partially in what they are called.
Our full identity is only found in the One who calls us and then chooses us in His calling us. Losing sight of Him reduces us down to someone who performs for Him to feel His love, instead of resting in our love relationship with Him. Adam and Eve discovered that early in their own walking down their path to purpose!
Any person who places their identity in what God calls them to do instead on God who chose them to do it runs a great risk of becoming a person they never dreamed they would digress into.
Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” That is an interesting statement that should lead enquirers to dig deeper and farther into what Jesus meant when He said that to the very ones He said it to.
The “them” Jesus was speaking to were the scribes and Pharisees who opposed the move of God and the Messiah who was the Facilitator of His movement.
In other words, they had no problem believing they could usurp God and His delegated authority figure.
Scribes were entrusted with the word of God and Pharisees were entrusted with maintaining purity within the community. Both failed miserably in their calling and and in their being chosen. Jesus said to His disciples, “If your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees you will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Those are heavy words! They are not as heavy as these, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it [Matthew 21:43].”
Let us all take note that being faithful to the end of what God has entrusted to us is more important than thinking we are so important we cannot disqualify ourselves from stewarding what He gifted us with in the beginning.
I want us to think about the original men Jesus called to be His disciples. There were more than the twelve that He ended up choosing to be His original, handpicked closest disciples.
In fact, out of those twelve there were three [Peter, James and John] who became even closer to Him than the other nine, but even Peter and James did not reach the level of intimacy that John attained.
John was so full of Jesus boiling oil couldn’t burn him and Patmos could not blind him! Now that is what I call a real revelation of Jesus, the Christ.
Choices! How far are you willing to go for a real relationship with Jesus based on intimacy with Him, not your working for Him?
At the end of His life Jesus had to say this to Philip, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?” How long has Jesus been with you and yet you still have not moved close enough to really know Him?
Distance and disconnect from Jesus are detrimental to our mental state, and potentially to our eternal state!
I learned many years ago: Jesus chose twelve out of possibly a hundred or more disciples He called to follow Him, the “three” chose to get closer than the other nine and John the beloved got closer than James and Peter. So when Jesus calls and chooses us it is for the purpose of our discovering what choices we will make to make sure we have a close relationship to Him, not to what He calls and chooses us to do for Him.
We read, “12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor [Luke 6].”
Many were called disciples but He chose twelve out of the many He originally called. We are not told why He chose only those twelve or why He chose those specific men, except that He spent all night fellowshipping with His Father and we know He only did what He saw His Father do and He only said what He heard His Father say. We can deduce the Father directed Him to the twelve He wanted chosen.
There is an interesting choice in the group of twelve. His name is Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
How would you like to be known throughout eternity as _______ ________ who became a traitor? Yikes!
“Became a traitor” is an interesting phrase to me, especially in light of what John reveals in chapter six of His gospel.
“64 But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.'”
Luke said Judas “became a traitor” and John said Jesus “knew who it was who would betray Him,”
Jesus knew the moment He selected Judas as one of the twelve it was he who would eventually betray Him.
We must remember all His disciples believed in Jesus when they followed Him. Apparently Judas chose not to believe Jesus. Do you really believe the Jesus you tell people you believe in? And in John chapter eight we learn Jesus told the “Jews who believed Him” they were His disciples if “they continued in His word.”
Continuing in and ending with believing Jesus is much more important that beginning a belief in and believing Jesus!
Think rope! Think pull up and out! Think hang down! Now think choices! Now think about all the crap Judas had inside of him that everyone got to see once his bowels blew out!
Jesus made choices and so did Judas, but their reasons for choosing were totally different.
My purpose in bringing it up in this blog is the context of being called and chosen does not guarantee we will end up where we thought we would when God calls and chooses us. Jesus knew where Judas would end up but Judas had no idea what his choices would do to his being called and chosen.
Jesus also said this about choices, “ 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another [John 15].”
When Jesus chooses us He expects good fruit to be produced. Many see that fruit as being what they do and not who they become. In other words, they place their future in their performace for Jesus instead on a real relationship with Jesus.
Is the fruit Jesus expects the supernatural manifestations of His presence? Not if they are done for the wrong reasons.
“21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles ?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [Matthew 7].'”
First Jesus addressed those who overemphazied their relationship to Him, “Lord, Lord.” So much for all who say Jesus is Lord do so through the Holy Spirit. Now that is another matter to deal with at another time. Second, beginning in the kingdom does not guarantee ending in the kingdom. Just ask the scribes and Pharisees. We need to make sure we remain in the kingdom God is in. Third, these deceived people were eager to brag about THEIR exploits – TO JESUS. Fourth, they never realized knowing Jesus is no where near as important as Him knowing them.
Do you know Him? So do demons and people deceived enough to prostitute His name for their glory!
Paul said, “24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. [1 Corinthians 9].”
God never disqualifies those He calls and chooses because His “gifts and calls are irrevocable.” Do we notice the word ‘anointing’ is not mentioned as irrevocable? How about the word ‘revelation?’ Are these intentional exclusions? I believe that they are intentional and a clue to the clueless.
For those who think that would never happen to them or any other New Testament minister read these words and weep, unless you are so enamored with yourself they cannot bring you to tears.
“4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent [Revelation 2].”
To have your lampstand removed means you are no longer getting revelation from the One who provided you with the illumination in the first place. Without His illumination there can be no Holy Spirit anointing becasue He is the One who gives illumination to us through the written Word of God.
Paul placed the responsibility of his remaining in his race squarely where it must be, on his shoulders.
Paul mentions running and prizes in his other epistles. The context of studying Paul and the race he ran is this: Paul never went where he was not sent. In other words, Paul had connections to a community of believers and those who led those believers. Paul was not a went one. He was a sent one!
Secondly, Paul was never sent alone. When he began his ministry he was sent with another five fold minister and then he led a team of future five fold ministers and believers. Paul was a team player not a lone ranger! God does not have lone rangers representing Him. In His earthly ministry Jesus sent teams of at least two to represent Him and His mission.
That is another very important truth. No one has a kingdom ministry, message, mandate or mission apart from Jesus.
- Philippians 3 – “12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”
- Paul said many things in this text but think about the following as you consider your calling and being chosen
- He pressed on inspite of his imperfections!
- He laid hold of that which Christ has laid hold of him.
- He continuously pursued his purpose in life not settling in a status quo.
- He looked ahead not behind!
- He reiterated a core value of pressing onward toward a goal.
- His goal and prize was Christ, and the upward call that is found only in Christ, the One who called and chose him.
- He would not compromise what he learned, experienced and obtained and attained, in Christ.
- Hebrews 12 – “1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
- Look at the similar language in this text to the Philippians 3 text. This is why I believe Paul wrote Hebrews!
- He knew he was connected to believers who had finished their race as well as to those he was running with and for in his own generation.
- He recognized the necessity to not become entangled in life’s challenges and hell’s temptations.
- He kept his eyes on the prize, Christ Jesus.
- He knew Christ was heaven’s model and his [our] role model for all life and ministry.
- He did not follow Jesus in His earthly ministry but Jesus had burned the Cross into his consciousness deep enough it was the central theme of his life and ministry.
- He realized weariness and heart failure was a present tense potential problem if he took his eyes off of his Prize.
- 2 Timothy 4 – “6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
- Once again Paul references a race and he ties it to expending his life as a sacrificial drink offering to God and for the people he ran with and for
- His Prize was in full view!
- He was confident in his effort and he would be rewarded for it.
- He knew he had been in a fight but it was a good fight because he never got knocked out. Even when he was stoned to death he got up and went right back in the city among those who tried to take him out.
- He finished the course [race that Jesus set before him]!
- He kept THE faith which means he remained faithful to his mission, message and his mandate to preach where no man had preached before.
Listen dear reader, don’t get cocky because you have a call from God that you have answered. Don’t become arrogant because Jesus chose you and you responded to His choice.
Remember God chose Israel out of all the nations on earth to be His people, and He chose Judas, a Jewish man to be one of Jesus’ closest disciples.
According to Peter [Acts 2] “the whole house of Israel” was guilty of innocent blood, the “men of Israel” chose to betray God and His sent Son, and Judas was the key player in that conspiracy to crucify the “Man.” Luke records Peter’s words with this, “[Who was] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.”
God chose the very ones who would betray the Christ, and they chose to be the ones to betray Him. Being called, and being chosen is meaningless if we make wrong choices that end up placing us in opposition to God and His purposes in the earth.
The fact we believe we started for the right reasons is no guarantee we will end up in the right place. Our choices throughout our lives are just as important as God’s choice to call and choose us!
Receive and steward God’s Passion, Power, Presence, Priority, Process, Provision, Pruning, Purging, Purity, and Purpose!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin
A Spiritual Revolutionary