When I want to start a new, hard to me, activity, the first thing I want to do is get my reinforcements. I want my accountability partners, my exercise pals, someone to hold my hand if I diet, a blogging buddy. All of those things are very good, so do not misunderstand what I am about to say. Many times, those people by intention or circumstance fall away, and then I have to decide what to do when they are gone.
Will I keep exercising? eating healthy? continue to write? continue to spend time in the Word?
What happens if no one is there to notice or encourage me to keep going?
Very often if no one wants to go on the journey with me, then I might also skip the journey. If no one wants to help me do the hard thing, maybe no one will notice if I don’t do the hard thing.
This has actually been a lifelong battle for me. I suspect it is a battle for many others too.
I have learned over time that I need to pick myself. Pick yourself, even if it seems no one else is picking you.
Because God picked you first.
When you don’t pick yourself, you treat yourself like something to be thrown away. Many times, we don’t value who we are. I know I did not value myself either. I allowed people to determine my worth, and in my mind’s eye, because I was not picked, I was not valued, so I stopped valuing myself. People were my God.
When I stopped staring at the people, and instead started staring into the Word, I learned that I was chosen. I learned that my identity was entirely something other than what I had been telling myself.
Christians often get confused by this concept of picking yourself. We are the Bible says to “count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). I cannot tell you how many years, I tried mindlessly to do this without picking myself.
There is a fallacy in the church of J-O-Y: Jesus, Others, Yourself.
This is a flat out lie! If you are a Christian reading this, stop spreading this right now.
You get up, and each day you pick Jesus. The end.
Jesus did not pick you or his ministry over the Father. He picked the Father, and the Father gave Him the strength to pick you.
When you follow Jesus, you do as He did.
When you pick Jesus, you will have to pick yourself. You cannot pour out to others in the spirit of true Christianity without picking yourself. Because He chose you first. You drink from His cup, you follow Him, and then and only then will you have the ability to pour out to others because you yourself will be filled. Anything else is an empty work of self-righteousness. You will experience true humility when you ponder who Jesus says you are in Him. You will die to yourself, and you will be able to do these things, not in your own strength, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
These daily deaths are very practical. We (meaning me and maybe some of you) often want magical Christianity. This is not to discount the mystical side of God, but to pick yourself, means to submit, to deny. You:
- go to work when otherwise you’d like to stay in bed.
- trim the hedges, wash the dishes, and do the laundry.
- exercise and make healthier choices when you eat.
- choose to eat instead of starve.
- spend time with God (first and foremost).
- When you cannot cope, you don’t turn to whatever empty thing you think will help you cope, you turn to His Word and then you may have the freedom to do that other thing. (For me, this is where my Netflix could become an addiction if I always used it to cope.)
Allow yourself to be captured by His pursuit of you. As a Christian, you have a new name, a new identity, and you do not have to turn to old worldly ways.
You are His chosen and His beloved. You are a precious daughter or son of the Almighty. Can you fathom The Great I Am choosing you! That changes everything.
You are a great asset to His kingdom. Pick yourself to do the hard thing, because He chose you.
Picking yourself is just choosing to believe what God says is true.
You get up. You pick God, and you pick yourself. As you pick yourself, you pour God into your heart just like you pour your morning cup of Joe. You do this, and soon the love of God will pour out of you onto others. Anything else is a works based idea of you picking yourself and ending up tired and weary and lost.
You don’t love yourself because you are awesome. None of us are so awesome, but He is. You love yourself because you are loved. You love because He first loved you.
Then, you become something beautiful, because you are no longer imitating what the world says you should be, but because He is beautiful. You become the thing you listen to, the thing you worship. In worshipping man, I was nothing. In worshipping Him, I became something.
He chose us, the nobodies. He made us ministers for Him. We aren’t just “nobodies telling everybody about Somebody.” We are also somebodies to God, His treasures, worth sending His Son to die in exchange for us.
Each day begins again. I pick God. I pick myself. You pick God. You pick yourself. I become what I worship. I chose God because He chose me. The journey has begun.