Choose Yourself (Part 1)

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Many people (one man said 95%) are waiting on someone else to choose them for things or to give them things. This goes for things such as a job, a promotion, financial security, a pay raise, an inheritance, etc. I propose, and have found, that one great way to ensure you get most or all of what you’re looking for in life is to choose yourself!

This will go against not only society as a whole, but the very paradigm we are all conditioned to have by people in our immediate circle all the way up to people in our society as a whole. The part of us that likes to study, learn, and talk of doing BIG THINGS, but when it comes time to actually DO the big things, it pulls us back to “safety” because, as the thought goes, “You can’t do THAT. You have to wait to be invited or included before you can do that! Who do you think you are?”.

When we speak of Choose Yourself, we do not mean to usurp authority or in any way try to take over, but rather to rise above the human nature status quo thinking of waiting on someone else to choose you for things. Most people will not like you choosing yourself in this way because, quite honestly, they haven’t chosen themselves in this way. Oh sure, they would “choose” themselves if presented with an opportunity, but I’m not talking about that. This is what Haman tried to do in the book of Esther. He wanted to be chosen by the king, and indeed he was chosen and promoted, but he was toxic and went about it in the wrong way and it only lasted a short time until the real Haman was revealed and he was properly dealt with!

By the way, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for the possibility of great opportunities to be offered to you. That’s actually what this whole post is about! But, simply waiting and hoping for it to be offered is very limiting in itself and is what most people do. “Status quo’ers” do this. They would tell you to basically “Fall in line and wait your turn!” or “It sure looks like you’re really trying to be some great one!”. My question would be, “Not in the way you’re portraying it, but what’s wrong with trying to do as much as we can and become the best we can? Why aren’t more people attempting to do that?”.

You should expect this kind of treatment though because it’s in human nature to push back against, or flat out reject, anything that is done differently than how we would do it. There’s no shortage of people who talk about doing big things until it’s being attempted, and then it’s “Hey, where do you think you’re going?!”. Sometimes this mentality is fortified with such thoughts as “Yeah! That’s happened before with this person, and look what happened to them!” or “Here we go again with another one!”. This is called Confirmation Bias. All you can really do is stay faithful, follow your vision all the way through, be consistent, and let God prove out what He has placed upon your heart for the short and long term.

James and John Tried to Choose Themselves

We read of a rather amusing episode that took place in Matthew 20:20-24  Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.  (21)  And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.  (22)  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.  (23)  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.  (24)  And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

We see in these passages that the mother of James and John did the dirty work by asking the Lord if her sons could sit at His left hand and right hand in His kingdom. The Lord then asked if they could go through what He must go through and they readily said “We are able”. So, evidently they were right there when their mother asked the question.

Usually James and John get a bad rap for this action. As a matter of fact, we later see that the other disciples, very dutifully and in keeping with the limited vision of the status quo, “…were moved with indignation against the two brethren” (Vs. 24). Maybe they thought, “Hey man, we want a position too and they’re trying to jump ahead of us! Who do they think they are?!” or whatever they were thinking! Not to mention, John was the youngest of the disciples, so you know his boldness probably really set them off! “That young hothead…who does he think he is being bold and doing stuff that we don’t do?!”

But, we do not see Jesus rebuking them for their audacious and bold requests. He basically just told them that decision is reserved only for God the Father to make, letting them know these kinds of things are not done as man does them. They are done as God does them.

I actually think Jesus probably liked this particular trait of James and John. He actually gave these two rabblerousing brothers the nickname Boanerges (meaning the sons of thunder). This was probably a term of endearment to the Lord. I know that I personally tend to like James and John’s boldness. I think Christianity could use a little more fearlessness and boldness like that.  Yes, I realize they were probably doing it at this particular time from a place of pride and youthful zeal, and I’m sure the Lord knew this as well. But, it has been my experience in leadership positions I’ve held and generally in life that it’s easier to pull back and train someone who’s a bit overzealous than it is to try to instill zeal into someone that you have to kickstart over and over and over again! Just my opinion!

Paul the Apostle Chose Himself

Now, right from the start, I know it was God who chose Paul to be an Apostle. I get it! I don’t mean it in that way and that’s not the part I’m talking about. When I say “Paul the Apostle Chose Himself”, here’s what I mean. We read in Galatians 1:11 – 2:9 that Paul, formerly known as Saul, got saved, was called by God into ministry, and spent three years in Arabia where he received revelations from God about ministering to the Gentiles.

He did not confer with the other Apostles about this vision nor wait on their permission to act on this vision to go to the Gentiles. He only saw Peter and James, the Lord’s brother, before carrying out the vision God gave him for the ministry to the Gentiles. In other words, he wasn’t just earnestly hoping and praying to be granted a position among them. Although he may not have rejected their offer because it would have afforded him the ability to create positive impact for the kingdom of God on a larger scale and in a more official capacity. By doing this, God used Paul to add an entire field of ministry that had not yet been explored, other than a few isolated cases. It literally became a ministry in itself! How awesome is that??!!

In short, instead of waiting to be chosen, he chose himself! Not through some form of usurping or undermining of their authority, nor would God have been pleased with that approach, but simply walking by faith in the direction to which he felt called and expecting God to lay out the pathway and bring the blessings that would be needed for it to succeed…and bless it God did!! In essence, he cut a path no one else was cutting and God was with him all the way through it!

When Paul the Apostle first started out establishing churches, you can be sure there were probably a few eyebrows being raised by the other Apostles in Jerusalem. “Who does this guy think he is?” or “He sure is stirring it up and raising some dust over there!” Why? Galatians 1:23  But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. When they saw his ministry prove out, Paul says Galatians 1:24  And they glorified God in me.

We then see it took 14 years, but finally Galatians 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision (Jews).

When we speak of Choose Yourself, we do not mean to usurp authority or in any way try to take over, but rather to rise above the human nature status quo thinking of waiting on someone else to choose you, and cut your own pathway through life. Maybe a pathway that no one else is cutting, but it can be YOUR pathway. It may just be what God and man are looking for, whether man knows it yet or not!

Closing Prayer: Lord, I really ask you to help set me free from status quo thinking. I also ask you to help me see the bigger picture; how that there may be ways of doing things that I am not yet considering, but that you would bless if I would only try! I pray that all things lead to Your glory! Amen!

Published by Pastor Fulmer

Pastor Fulmer is currently the Pastor of New Testament Christian Church in Pyeongtaek, South Korea (near Camp Humphreys). His life's mission is to lead men and women to THEIR next level of living and into a closer relationship with Christ through Evangelism, Education, and Example.

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