School recess, playground games. So many memories flood my mind when I hear those words.
Dodgeball, softball, Red Rover, four square…..we spent all of recess in elementary school passing the time with those games. And as fun as they were, there was also the anxiety of standing in a line with other kids. Waiting and hoping to be picked for the team. Was I cool enough? Was I liked enough? Would I be chosen? I was never the team captain, I was always in the line, waiting to hear my name be called. Maybe you can relate.
We all want to be included. We all desire to be invited in. Even my introvert friends want inclusion (even though they reserve the right to still say no!). In our souls, as people designed for community, we have a longing to be included, or chosen.
Old Testament Jews understood this concept well. They were God’s chosen people. Deuteronomy 14:2 says “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession”. They spent all day, every day, knowing that they were special. They knew the holy scriptures that declared that they were in fact, chosen by God. They did not have to wonder or worry about being included. They understood that as fact. So, they had a difficult time accepting that, when Jesus came, He declared that even the Gentiles and the dreaded Samaritans were also chosen! But we’re not here to talk about them, let’s talk about you and me!
If you have ever felt the sting of NOT being chosen or included, then I know you also understand the joy and happiness that comes when you ARE invited in. I have good news for you today!
You have been chosen by God for the most significant team in human history! The most amazing “team captain” of all, has set His sights on you! He has called your name and included you among those He desires to have on His team!
Ephesians 1:3-4 puts it this way, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…” John 15:16 says “You did not choose me, but I chose you…”
Let those words sink in for a moment. God chose YOU! Say it out loud right now (ok, maybe just in your head if you’re not alone…) Say “God chose me!” Don’t say it with hesitation, with a question mark at the end. Say it with gusto. With an exclamation point!
Maybe your relationship with God is spot on today! You are in the word, in church, and in prayer regularly. Maybe you have just started a relationship with Him, and you are still figuring out what that looks like. And maybe your relationship with God is…complicated. Whatever the case may be, know this; you are loved by Him! How do I know? Well, because you are reading this now, and I believe God led you here today. And because He led you here, He desires for you to know Him. And because He drew you here and desires to know you, you are loved.
What you do with that knowledge is up to you, but He is calling your name. Asking you to be part of His team.
Imagine you are in that line of kids, waiting to be picked at recess. The captain calls your name. In that moment, you were chosen for the team. But you still have the choice whether or not to step out of the line and join the captain. We can stay where we are, but we are still chosen. It’s not until we accept that invitation that we actually join the team.
You are who God says you are, and He says you are chosen. My sister, if you have placed your faith in Jesus and trust in His work on the cross and in His resurrection for your salvation from sin, then He has called you, and you are chosen! Rest in that truth today. Soak in it for a while. (Think, long hot bubble bath soaking, the kind that wrinkles your skin!)
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Called out of darkness, into His marvelous light. Chosen!
As we work to reframe and combat the negative words that we hear from others, or from the enemy, words matter. You may hear “not wanted” or “rejected”. But God says you are:
And a new creation!
If you are keeping a list in your pretty notebook, add Chosen and New Creation to the list!
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is here!” What a wonderful truth!
Since we have Christ in us, we are a totally new creation. We are not recycled or repurposed, but remade!
Our old selves (before we knew Jesus) were without Christ. But Jesus is the light of the world. Once His beautiful light enters us, all the ugliness is exposed. And He gets to work right away making room for His presence to fill and complete us. He starts to get rid of the ugly and change us. And almost immediately, His glorious light shines through and we are made new from the inside out!
Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Here, God didn’t say that He would add water to the streams He had already created, but that He would make streams appear in the wasteland.
Because I am a new creation, I am not a slave to my old ways. The old is gone, the new has come!
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us this truth: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
A new creation in Christ is not a second chance. God is not limited to second chances, as though they could run out. Rather, we are a NEW creation, a NEW beginning! God is a God of new beginnings. Even if you have wandered away. Even if you use to follow Him, but something happened to change that. You can restart with God. Let Him create in you a new heart! Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
My dear sweet friend, who is in every way possible, a new creation, said this to me. “Remembering that I am a new creation helps me to step into what God is calling me to do. I have to choose to no longer identify with the labels from my past that would certainly imprison me. There’s freedom in Christ!”
The new me has fresh eyes. Eyes to see beyond my circumstances, to see God’s purposes. A new creation can be like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
Whether you are looking for inclusion or a fresh start, Jesus offers you both!
Father God, when I feel defeated and like I am never going to get things right, remind me that I am new in Christ. I feel your tender mercies toward me every morning. But sometimes, when the world doesn’t choose me, and I feel stuck in patterns of life that make me feel trapped, I forget that you have made me new. Thank you for your word and the truths I read there. I am chosen. I am a new creation. I choose to declare this in a fresh way today! Amen.