Passages: October 2018
Don’t you hate answering “favorite” questions?
People always want to know about my favorite color, favorite movie, favorite author, favorite book, favorite class. And most of the time, I can’t answer them. I don’t even have a “favorite” in each of these categories, and I’m not about to settle on one just to answer the question.
The same applies to Bible verses. I love numerous verses and passages. I don’t think I have a single favorite verse or passage. I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t have a favorite verse; many Christians I know have a favorite book of the Bible or a life verse. But I have so many “favorite” verses, and I just haven’t settled on the absolute “favorite” yet.
To further complicate matters, I want to share my vast collection of favorite verses with you, my reader.
This is the reason for my “Passages” series. Each month, on the first Monday of the month, I will share another one of my favorite verses or passages with you. While I want to prioritize God’s Word in all my posts, these posts will especially highlight specific verses and the roles that they have played in my life.
And one more thing: I don’t want this to be a one-way street. I would love to hear about your favorite verses and passages each month too. Feel free to leave a comment on the posts or even to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe that God’s Word, administered to us by the Holy Spirit, is the single most sanctifying tool that God employs in the hearts of His children. So let’s “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
And now for October’s passage . . .
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that you fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
I discovered this verse in high school when I had to memorize it for a Bible class. Many verses I memorized then did not stay with me, but this one did. I was overwhelmed by the truth of it; it seemed to be talking directly to me.
Because I did not choose God.
At this time of my life, I was balancing school, chores, and family life. I was trying to seek God, but I was also trying to fulfill the lusts of my flesh. I found that seeking God and seeking myself cannot go hand in hand; one of them must yield to the other.
As I was struggling with my sin and mourning over my lack of consistent victory, God brought John 15:16 into my life. And He taught me that He is the one who chose me and He is the one who appointed me to bear fruit.
When I was overwhelmed by my own inability to live righteously, God gently reminded me who had saved me in the first place. Even as I had needed to rely on the grace of God and the mercy of God for my salvation, so I still needed to rely on His strength to live a life pleasing to Him.
Essentially, God chose me for Himself, appointed me to bear fruit, and decided that the fruit would be lasting fruit. He did this to give me whatever I asked of Him.
While I still don’t completely understand this verse, I do know that it was the will of God to choose me, it is the will of God for me to bear fruit, and it is the will of God to answer my prayers.
I don’t know where you find yourself right now. Maybe you have climbed to a spiritual mountaintop, or maybe you have fallen to a spiritual valley. Maybe you are living somewhere in between the two. But I do know that wherever you are, God has chosen you and has appointed you to bear fruit.
Don’t despair when you are in the valley; don’t grow proud when you are on the mountaintop; don’t grow weary when you are on the slope. Refocus on God and on His promises. Ask Him to help you bear the lasting fruit that He has chosen you for.
God delights to answer that prayer.