Jonathan is an anointed preacher, loves the Mets, and just recently knocked out a few Spartan races. He graduated from Nyack College this spring with a Bachelors in Bible/Theology and Pastoral Ministries. Check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.
Today just happens to be his 22nd birthday, so give him a shout!
Photo Credit: Lauren Viera
One of my favorite sports to play is basketball. I love being able to go to the park on a gorgeous spring day and play some pickup games of basketball. But to be honest with you all, I am not very good at it. Which is why when it comes down to picking teams, I am usually picked last. But a few months ago, my friends and I went to play a game of basketball and when it came down to picking teams, for the first time in forever, I was not picked last but was picked second to last! Now this may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but it was for me. For the first time in a long time, I felt a team chose me not because there were not any other options left, but because they preferred me at that moment. It may be just a game of basketball but there was something about being chosen by somebody that made me feel good inside. The reason for this is because each of us have a desire in us to be chosen by something or somebody.
Whether it's being chosen to be on a sports team, chosen for that promotion or chosen by someone to be their girlfriend/boyfriend, there is a desire in each of us to feel chosen. We can often look to these different things in order to feel chosen or significant, yet it only fulfills that desire for a moment. We will always keep looking to feel chosen by something or somebody. But can I tell you today that we were already chosen before the very foundations of our world were created?
“even as he CHOSE us in him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:4 ESV
Paul is discussing the spiritual blessings we have in Christ and not only is being blessed one of those blessings, but so is being chosen! Not only were we chosen by Christ but we were chosen BEFORE the foundations of the world were in place. So before God created the heavens, the water, the animals and even humanity itself, he chose you. This is so hard to grasp when first coming across it, but amazing when you really take the time to think about it. The fact that the ruler of the universe chose US, trumps whatever form of significance we look for here on Earth.
Now that we know when he chose us, what exactly did he choose us for? This is one of the hardest biblical concepts to understand. When we first come across the word chosen, as Christians, we automatically assume its means to be chosen for a specific duty or position. I know that's what I took it as. I had no problem believing that I was chosen by God. In fact, He himself told me that He would one day use me to speak to young people. I knew that I was chosen. My entire life revolved around what I believed I was chosen for. But what if what I thought I was chosen for never actually happened? Would I still feel chosen by God if I wasn’t doing the very thing I believed I was chosen for? I wouldn’t have because I had the wrong idea of what being chosen meant. We often mistake being chosen to mean doing something when that is not what this verse states at all. This verse states that He has chosen us to BE something not to do something. And that something is to be blameless and holy before God. If he's given you specific gift or talent that he wants to use, that’s great, but the primary reason why He chose us was to live holy and blameless lives. Lives that are dedicated or consecrated to God and free of any wrongdoing. God chose us to be dedicated to Him and live lives that display our dedication to Him by being free from sin.
Being free from all wrongdoing is hard to do especially if we all sin naturally. (Romans 3:23) So since one is always going to sin and being chosen means living holy and blameless lives, do we even qualify to be chosen by God? Although we all fall short of living holy and blameless lives, it does not disqualify us from being chosen by God. In fact, it is the very reason why God sent His son to die was so that we could forgiven from the very thing that keeps us from being chosen. His grace is what qualifies each and every one of us to live in the blessing of being chosen by God. No sin can ever keep you from that.
No matter what anyone has told you, no matter what mistakes you made or sins you committed, there is nothing that can take away God’s choosing of you. He chose you before creation and His grace is what qualifies you and is what will empower you to live lives that are holy and blameless before Him. Only when we believe this, is when our desire to be chosen will be fulfilled.
If you're jumping into the series now, feel free to check out the #WDYTYA16 page that includes links to all the posts so far.