"Nothing describes your character more than the choices you make. In fact, your choices are determined by your character. In the end, you will not be judged by what you have claimed to be or even appeared to be but what your choices have proven you to be. It was not God that gave man free will, that was Satan's lie. God gave you the incredible power of choice, by which each of us choose one of two wills, God's or the enemy's."--- The Incredible Power of Choice
It's a word that has been on my mind pretty much all this week. In fact, I penned a devotional on it for married couples in the wee hours of this morning. It covered a lot of ground, but the gist of it was this:
You *choose* who you marry. No one *forces* you to do it (at least not in the US).
You need to honor your choice.
You need to own your choice.
You need to accept the consequences of your choice.
Divorce, in part, is about not honoring and owning your choice. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)
However, when it comes to this platform, the word "choose" is manifesting from another angle.
A couple of days ago, I was checking out a play and I heard one woman say to another (about the woman's ex-boyfriend marrying someone else), "He *picked* you. He *chose* her."
Yeah, that really penetrated and so I decided to look up definitions for both words:
Choose: to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference; to prefer or decide (to do something); to want; desire
The Scripture that I provided for the devotional message came out of the Book of Esther:
"Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter of the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther's honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone."---Esther 2:16-18(NLT)
King Xerses and Queen Esther's story has many (MANY) layers to it; too many to get into right this moment. However, if there's one thing that we can gather from those verses, it's that Esther was sho 'nuf *chosen* to be King Xerses's wife.
She was selected from a (large) number of possibilities.
She was picked by preference.
He decided (HE DECIDED, HE WAS NOT PRESSURED) that he wanted to be with her.
He wanted and desired her.
The Hebrew word for choose is "bachar". It means "to choose". It means "chosen". It means "desired", "preferred", "required", "selected" and (yes) "tested".
To prefer means "to set or hold before or above other persons or things in estimation".
To require means "to need".
To select means "choice; of special value or excellence" and "careful or fastidious in selecting; discriminating".
To test means "the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial". (Someone women really need to calm down and be OK with being "tested" a bit.)
However, it's "desire" that I'm led to bring to the forefront...
When someone desires you, from a noun perspective it means that to them you are "a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment". There's nothing wrong with that. One of my favorite verses in the Bible says "The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works." (Psalm 145:15-17-NKJV) OK, but look at what one of the verb definitions for desire is: "to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request".
Matthew 7:7-8 speaks to the importance of asking. So does James 4:1-6. A lot of us quote Psalm 37:4, that God will give us the desires of our hearts (especially as it relates to relationships), and yet, how many of us really get that in order to be truly satisfied, we need to ask God for what we want? We need to make our requests known *to him*?
And here's the thing about that:
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."---I John 5:14-15(NKJV)
God grants desires *that are according to his will*. HIS WILL.
This means that it's not just enough for you to desire someone or for them to desire you.
Desire is about making a request to God and then trusting that his "yes" will satisfy *and* so will his "no".
Deeper still, being that a desire surrounds a request being made, then when a *godly man* (and really, you should be desiring nothing less) chooses you (CHOOSES YOU), one of the things that you can be certain of is that he asked God for you *and* God said that you were apart of his will for that man's life.
OK, now let's get to pick:
Pick: to choose or select from among a group; to seek and find occasion for; provoke; to attempt to find; seek out; to steal the contents of; to open (a lock) with a device other than the key, as a sharp instrument or wire, especially for the purpose of burglary; to pierce, indent, dig into, or break up (something) with a pointed instrument; to form (a hole) by such action
It'll preach ("to break up with a pointed instrument"---just wow).
Although on the "shallow end of the pool", picked and chosen seem basically synonymous, look at all of other things that comes with being picked by a man.
When you're picked, you're basically good for an occasion (not necessarily a lifetime).
When you're picked, there tend to be contents of you that are stolen.
When you're picked, you're pierced and dug into (one way or another)---a hole tends to be left behind as a direct result.
The Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-20 warns us about being picked---about settling for being picked:
"There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body."
You know what? So does 2 Corinthians 6:14-18(NKJV):
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
'I will dwell in the and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'
'Come out from among them and be separate', says the Lord. 'Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty."
There are some women---shoot, some people---who want to be married *so badly* that they settle for being picked rather than waiting on the Lord to strengthen their heart (Psalm 27:14) while God gets them *and* the best person he has for them into a spiritually mature (Matthew 19:11-12-Message) place where they can both make *responsible choices*.
You know, one synonym for choose is "appoint".
When God is in on the choosing process, you can trust that he will *appoint* a man to choose you.
To appoint means "to name or assign to a position, an office, or the like; designate".
To appoint means "to determine by authority or agreement; fix; set".
To appoint means "to provide with what is necessary; equip; furnish".
Yeah, choose is more than a notion, ain't it?
If God is not assigning a man to the position of "husband" in your life...
If God has not determined by *his authority* that a man is best for you...
If God has not clearly provided, through a man's fruit, what is necessary to be the priest of your home...
And you choose to proceed with the relationship anyway...
You are basically saying that you'd prefer to be "picked".
Rather than *chosen*.
And you deserve so much more than that.
There's "being with a man" and there's *having God's absolute best*.
Choose and be chosen wisely, OK? OK.