Pokémon fans know this famous phrase, “I choose you!”. This catchphrase works well to market a game, since it resonates with all of us. I think that we all want to be chosen: We would like to be picked early for the teams on the playground. We want to be selected for a promotion, to get chosen for a successful project team, or to have our restaurant selected as the place where the group will eat this weekend.
We don’t always get chosen, though. Sometimes, we don’t make the team. Sometimes, we have to toil away in obscurity, or do what others tell us to. Sometimes, we must defer to other people’s decisions. We are not always chosen, and it often hurts.
However, there is a winning group that we have already been chosen for. While the following statement of Jesus was to His disciples, I believe that He has a purpose for each of His followers:
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
John 15:16 NLT
However, from the verse above, notice that Jesus didn’t just call his disciples in order to boost His “follower count”, or even to make them feel good about themselves. Jesus selected these individuals for a specific purpose – to produce fruit.
We can relate to this: A player chosen for a sports team is expected to work hard and live up to the expectations of the captain or coach who extended the offer (whether on the playground, or on a professional team). An employee who is granted a promotion is generally given more responsibility at the same time. In the same way, followers of Jesus have a purpose. We have work to do; not in order to get Jesus to pick us for his team (so to speak), but because we have been selected to be part of His kingdom.
So, what is this fruit? Just as a tree produces fruit according to the seed that it sprouted from (see Genesis 1:11-12), we would expect the fruit of a disciple of Jesus to be more disciples, as the good news is passed from one person who needed to be saved, on to another person who is still in need of salvation (or who needs to learn more about becoming an effective disciple).
In addition, Paul the Apostle’s letter to the church in Galatia talks about results that appear in our lives when we let the Holy Spirit help us live as God intended.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
I don’t think that we have to choose between these two definitions, in considering what the outcomes of our lives should be when we follow Jesus. After all, both living like Jesus and demonstrating these latter qualities give us the ability to share our testimony about Him with others.
We may not have been selected from the seaside, or from a tax collector’s booth, but for those who have chosen to follow Jesus, we each have been selected as a particular part of the Body of Christ, with a role to play. Jesus has chosen us; now, let’s get out there and do our best for Him!