To Anyone I Want To

LUKE 4:1–6

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.”


What does it feel like to be chosen? We’ve probably all had experiences where someone had the agency to make a choice about us—to pick us for a team, to pick us for a friend, to pick us for a spouse, or to pick us for a job. Something inside us wants to feel special, to be chosen, to be selected from among the masses.

The Father called Jesus by name. It is clear that Jesus was chosen. The Father picked him, in front of everyone, affirming it in a profound way. But the Father had a long plan for that choosing, a plan Jesus intuitively must have known would involve tremendous and vicarious suffering (Isa. 53), a cup he would prefer to pass (Matt. 26:39), and a torn-down temple (John 2:19). Being chosen to enjoy unspeakable intimacy with the Father—and to suffer—does that feel like being picked for God’s best?

So the enemy makes a play based on making Jesus feel chosen—with a more pleasurable and immediate result than what Jesus would inevitably face. “Yes, Father,” I would say. “But suffering? Isn’t there another way?” The enemy has another way.

“I can give it to anyone I want to.”

If Jesus had wavered, even for a moment, as the Son of Man, offered kingdoms and selected as the one chosen by the evil one (who apparently had power to make the offer), you and I would be lost—far from God and without hope (Eph. 2:12).

When you are invited to have a platform, you have been chosen. When you see your gifts being appreciated and effective in a school, in a church, in a business, on a board, or in a group—it is tempting to believe that we are the reason we were chosen.

And the enemy begins to whisper, inaudibly, and often sounding like the God he resists: “You are special, you are chosen; this opportunity you have has everything to do with your gifts, your experience, and your obedience. You deserve this. Revel in it.”

That’s when the call from the Father comes (here, spoken through Paul to the Philippians):

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:1–11)

The Father has chosen you and named you. No matter the successes you must bear, no matter the suffering you must bear, you have been selected by your heavenly Father with love to come into the fullness of the character of Christ. It will cost you. Do not look back. The enemy will make you easier offers, in the quiet of your heart. Resist them; the end we look toward, brother, sister, is the salvation of our souls:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6–9)

I am moved to pray a prayer like this after reading these words of life: I am chosen (1 Peter 2:9) along with followers of your way. It is enough for me to serve alongside you to the point of life or to the point of death.


Lord of the Wild, we have been chosen to be a precious child of the Father, a chosen ambassador of your presence (1 Peter 2:9) in the world. We choose to rest in this choosing, no matter what flattery may come our way. We resist the pull of believing the lie that our own specialness has made a way for us. We choose to serve, and to walk away from self-sufficiency. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Are there any areas of influence or ministry you have been given that you feel entitled to or entitled from the fruits of your work? How could you return to the servant-hearted, open-handed leadership posture of Jesus as you move forward?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Paul speaks other words as well to address the temptation of human pride in self. “For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3) I try to keep in mind the fact that none of us are truly worthy of our S.G.s or callings.

  2. When we are led by God’s Spirit we begin to behave like Jesus as He works inside us to train and empower us to live a lifestyle that daily demonstrates the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. To be led by the Spirit as a child of God is to walk away from self-sufficiency and to rely on and obey God’s inner promptings instead of leaning on human understanding and ego. Being led by the Spirit requires that we hear and do what the Spirit is saying by humbly abandoning our desires and our self-reliance.

  3. Mark 8:36
    For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

    Seems to me that satan is reminding Jesus, rubbing salt into the wound, that what was once God’s is now his because the person God gave it to, gave it to him. Never mind that he tricked Adam into giving him rule, You shouldn’t have given it to Adam, it’s Your fault he failed. Why didn’t Jesus simply take it back?
    Adam’s original connection with God was through righteousness. His choice of disobedience to God, (just as Lucifer did) gave rule to satan where righteousness left, and sin entered. So it must be the free will of obedience to Christ that we become justified back to God. We think that we choose Him (and we do), but soon we realize that He has already chosen us. So, it’s not so much that we choose Him, but that we recognize that He is the Lord of Lords, our personal Savior who gives us back what Adam gave away, humanity’s soul.

    John 15:16
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

    1 John 4:19
    We love because he first loved us.

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