“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him.” – Mark 3:13
Like them, all in Christ are chosen before the foundation of the world – that’s before creation took place.
Then all of His sheep are called to follow Him at some point in this life and by God’s irresistible power and enablement, they do it. They hear the gospel and believe it.
As for our Lord’s reasoning, verse 13 says He called to Him those whom He desired. It’s referring to the choosing of the twelve apostles. Our Lord’s desire is the only basis given for His choice. He simply desired to call these men.
Of this sovereign selection, Herbert Lockyer writes,
“Those called were not consulted beforehand, nor did He seek anyone’s advice upon the qualifications of those He was to call. The choice was His own sovereign will and purpose. Their appointment was carefully foreordained, deliberate, and momentous with far-reaching results. ”
In verse 13, the reason Jesus was up on a mountain was to pray. According to Luke 6:12, He had been praying all night before He called the twelve.
When Jesus called the ones He desired, the result was… “they came to Him.” The effectual call of Christ always includes the requisite desire to come on the part of the called. God not only calls us to Himself, but He also gives us the desire to come.
Little is taught today about the role our desires play in discerning God’s will in our lives. Many Christians have wrongly assumed that if they desire to do a certain thing, then it must not be God’s will for us. But that isn’t necessarily the case.
There are sinful desires to be avoided, but there are also sanctified desires to be embraced.
If we are informing our thoughts and actions with Scripture, and if we are prayerfully seeking God’s will, then God’s Spirit is giving us His leading. In a believer’s life, our desires are an indispensable aspect of how God leads us along.
Sometimes we may desire to take one job more than another job for a multitude of reasons and neither choice is sinful. Other times we may desire to live in one part of the country instead of another area, and that isn’t wrong or sinful. And a single person may desire to get married… and all of these desires have their place in God’s will for our lives.
I think it was Augustine who famously said, “Love God and do what you please.” This is true for the committed believer. It’s true because when a person really loves God, their desires are always being shaped by that love.
Even the call of a missionary is borne of this God-given desire.
It may begin as a simple curiosity for a certain place or people group. It then grows into a genuine interest. Then it becomes a preoccupation. And finally that desire becomes a restless love to reach those people with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God-given desires advance us forward throughout our Christian pilgrimage.
Along with our desires, God primarily informs us through our understanding of Scripture, then through the wise counsel of Christian friends and family members, and by opening and closing certain doors of opportunity.
Understanding our sanctified desires is helpful in discerning God’s will at various junctures of life. This understanding is also effective in our witnessing to the lost.
We can freely say to the lost… “If you’re not following Christ and you have a desire to follow Him, that’s as good as an engraved invitation to come! Engage that God-given desire and follow Him!”
There are thousands and thousands of lost people in false religions who are going to hear the gospel and believe unto salvation because God chose them before the foundation of the world to be saved. Some of them are in our city right now.
When the magnet of the gospel is held out to the world, the true metal is inexorably drawn upward and like our Lord’s original twelve apostles, the chosen sheep of Christ respond and follow Him.
So love God, inform your heart with Scripture, seek godly counsel, look for opportunities and after prayerfully surrendering your will to God, do what you most desire to do.
With love in the truth,