The past two weekends I had the opportunity to go to Harriet, Arkansas and teach a few hundred junior high students that they were chosen by God. It was an incredible weekend where we saw God do some incredible things, but, reminding junior high students that they are chosen by God isn’t the easiest task. I mean, do you remember your junior high experience? As I told them this weekend, if some crazy time warp happened and I was sent back to high school, I would be fine; I enjoyed high school. But, if that same time warp sent me back to junior high? Oh Lord, please let the end of the world coming soon! (Which, in this theoretical situation, if there’s a time warp that sends me back to junior high, it seems plausible that the end of the world would be rapidly approaching).
Junior high, and honestly younger, is where we are first flooded with the reality that there is pressure all around us to be like that person. There is a pressure that tells us to strive to do whatever we can to blend in with those around us or to work hard to somehow prove we are better. It may have started at a young age, and now it has extended into your adult life, and maybe you haven’t even realized it. You are searching. You never discovered your identity as God’s chosen and valuable possession, you never realized that there was value in who you are solely because God has created and chosen you, and you’ve been chasing value ever since those playground days caused you to believe that you were inadequate.
Well, hear God’s good news for you. If you don’t get anything else from this blog, I want you to leave knowing ONE thing, that God chooses you! Over and over and over again, God consistently says yes to you, despite anything that you might think disqualifies you, despite anything you might think isn’t worthy of being chosen by God, he chose you. In Deuteronomy chapter 7, God reminds his people who they are.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
We have been chosen. I think we have a really bad understanding of what it means to choose something. For us, choosing something or someone is usually about what they bring to the table. Speaking of tables, do you like choosing options to eat? I hate it! I love food, but I hate choosing. I hate choosing because I want the best option and if I choose poorly, I’m going to be disappointed!
This is how we view choices! Really it is how we view any type of value. We want the best option! Maybe it’s an award that you’ve won in your life, maybe it’s being the best salesperson, maybe it’s making sure your child is the star athlete, or maybe it’s maintaining your status in the “in” crowd and surrounding yourself with things. All of these “identities” are usually based on something we can do. What do you bring to the table? Then in situations where we feel like we are not being chosen, or we don’t have anything to offer, it can produce some really serious anxiety in our lives. When we’re not chosen it causes us to wonder what might be wrong with us. It makes us feel worthless. Unworthy. Unqualified. So we keep up appearances all while wondering if we truly have any value.
You see, when we don’t know whose we are, we’ll never know who we are! Because of the life experiences which teach us that being chosen is all about what we add, we can start to feel like God might choose people the same way.
Do you ever feel this way with God? Do you ever think, “Does God love me? Does God choose me? Would the creator of the world really want to know me?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!”
In the above scripture, God is trying to get us to see that God chose us based on one thing, and one thing only! Because God loves us. Right now, as you are, YOU are a treasured possession of God! Not because you earned it, not because you were already cool or powerful, not because you were destined to be awesome, not because you have lots of talents, not because God thinks you’re going to be really successful. God chooses you, even when you think you are the LEAST likely to be chosen!
Old Testament, New Testament, from the beginning of time until the end of it, God is unchanging and God still chooses you! But, as I found myself prepping for my talks to these students, I discovered I often forget that truth. I think we all still forget. Over, and over, and over again! Reminding ourselves of our identity in Jesus is the constant battle of continually following Jesus. I don’t think it’s necessarily about getting things right, caring for others well, or about how much you read your Bible, Are those things important? Of course! They are the foundations of truly following Jesus. However, I think those are actually the easier parts to remember and do well. I’ve been following Jesus now for over 20 years give or take a little bit, and I still struggle believing that God chooses me. I forget this truth every month, every week, and every day.
So today, are you walking as a child of God? Are you reminding yourself whose you are?
If so, then hold your head high and be reminded that you have extreme value as God’s child. Take courage knowing that you don’t have to strive to find identity in anything else; we are chosen by God and our identity comes from God!
If not, maybe you find yourself exhausted as you chase after things to prove your worth. Maybe you feel so tired and stressed trying to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes, trying to make sure your kids have on the right brands, trying to make sure everything is picture-perfect in your family's life, but you still wonder every day - God, do you really choose me? Be reminded that the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes! You ARE my beloved child, my valuable possession!”
What would happen if we stopped listening to the many voices who make us believe we’ll never measure up, and instead begin to see ourselves the way God does...
Remember, YOU are chosen by God.