Chosen by God:
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
What an amazing thought – to be chosen by God! Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16). This is what Thomas Merton meant, I think, when he said, “A saint is not someone who is good, but who experiences the goodness of God.” I’m not a Christian because I’ve been a good person, or done a certain number of good works, but I’m a Christian because God has been good to me. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Today, you may feel like you are nobody special. Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message Bible). No wonder Bible is called Good News!
“But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24-29, NLT).
Praise God. You may feel like you’re not very smart, powerful or rich, but that makes you a perfect candidate for God’s grace. God delights to choose the foolish, weak and poor things of the world – people considered nothings and nobodies – so that no one can boast in His presence. Allow me to finish off today’s devotional with the grace-filled words of an ex-alcoholic, ex-Catholic priest, who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ:
“Jesus came to bring good news to a specific group of people. The good news is not for the super-spiritual. It is not for the Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation. It is not for the fearless and tearless. It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels, “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.” It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus. If anyone is still reading along, the Good News that Jesus offers is for Ragamuffins – the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out. It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other. It is for the wobbly and weak kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker. It is for poor, weak sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents. It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay. It is for the bent and bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are ragamuffins. The Good News that Jesus brings is for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the way.” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
Pastor Chris Jordan