Chosen…we all want to be chosen.
Who doesn’t remember the days of elementary gym class? I hear the word chosen and that is where my mind goes. I remember sitting on the sideline as two team captains stood in front of us. One by one, names were called. Students were chosen. The fastest, strongest students were chosen first. When they heard their name, they jumped up from their place, threw their hands up in the air and said ‘Yes!’ loud enough for everyone to hear. It was clear that being chosen felt good! On and on the choosing went until only the unchosen were left on the sideline. That was me. There was no jumping up, no hands raised, no loud response. Being last on the sideline did not get the same response as being chosen for a team!
Being unchosen goes beyond the elementary gym. Many of us can identify because in the world, only a few qualify as chosen. When a position becomes available at the office, many apply, one is chosen. The one who is chosen is the person who has done something that makes him or her the most qualified for the position.
We find in God’s Word that our attitudes and behaviors line up with our understanding of being chosen.
In Colossians 3, Paul reminds the believers, and us, how to live. He gives a list of the attitudes and behaviors to put off:
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices…
He follows this in verse 13 with a list of attitudes and behaviors to put on. Right in the middle of the two, before He states how to live, Paul shares an underlying truth in verse 12.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
CHOSEN! We are CHOSEN by God!
Thinking back to those days on the sideline, being unchosen brings along with it a lot of the things listed in verses 5 thru 10. Being unchosen leads to attitudes and behaviors that are not consistent with our new self. We are tempted to become angry with the one doing the choosing and jealous of the one who was chosen. We are tempted to fall into the lie that we are not good enough because someone has not chosen us. Being unchosen leads to behaviors that are consistent with our old self. Feeling unchosen keeps us in bondage to the way we used to live.
Being unchosen makes us strive to do something to make us chosen. We think if we can get ‘faster’ or ‘stronger’ or if we can do more, then next time around we will be chosen. Once we have earned our chosen-ness we think it will be easy to put aside all of those old behaviors and put on compassion, kindness, gentleness, etc.
But Paul says you ARE chosen. You already are chosen. Now, because you are chosen this is how you are to live.
There is a liberating truth here. We don’t strive to be compassionate in order to be chosen. We don’t work to be the kindest or the most forgiving in order for God to choose us. He has ALREADY chosen us. Our being chosen by God has nothing to do with what we have done. It is based on what He already did.
Being unchosen destroys our sense of worth. When we feel unworthy of being chosen, it is easy to fall back into the ways of our old self. But when we know we are chosen by God, we find our worth in Him. We are eternally grateful for what He has done for us, overwhelmed at the grace and mercy He showed us on the cross. The response of our grateful hearts is to live a life consistent with our new self, consistent with the character of Christ.
Because we have been chosen, we show compassion, kindness, gentleness, and humility. We forgive and we love sacrificially.
The world is full of people who do not know how chosen by God they are. Our compassion, kindness, gentleness and humility will put us in position to share the love of God so they can know that He has chosen them, too. That’s the most amazing thing about God’s choosing. He doesn’t want anyone left sitting on the sideline. His choosing is not limited to a few. He has graciously extended an invitation to all through Jesus Christ.
We have been chosen by God! The truth of this should keep us daily following Him. When we find ourselves slipping back into the ways of our old self, let’s remember how chosen we really are. The Bible is full of the life giving truth that we already are chosen by God. Keeping our focus on the One Who has chosen us and understanding the value He has placed on us frees us from the ways of the past and compels us to live a life sold out for Him!
We were never meant to live on the sideline. We have been chosen by Him!
You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. John 14:16