God chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
I don’t know what your experience of being chosen is like? Whenever I think about being chosen, my mind goes back to picking teams for football at school. And that is an experience of being chosen last.
Now I don’t really blame the others in my class. I was, and continue to be, dreadful at football. I can’t even kick a ball half the time, let alone maintain control or shoot for goal. It was an easy choice for them to choose me last.
Nevertheless, it’s still stings a bit, that experience. And our experience of being chosen in human terms can start to shape our view of being chosen by God. Is God a bit like my friends at school? If I’m chosen by God, is it because he had no-one else left to choose? Does he choose me, but choose me last?
Absolutely not. God chose you first, not last. Paul tells us that God chose us in Jesus “before the creation of the world.”
God’s choice of you was not a second thought or a last minute decision. Before a single star was put in place, God chose you. Before the sun and moon were made, God chose you. Before any blade of grass grew, before any animal moved on the ground, before a bird flew in the sky, God made a decision: he chose you to be in his kingdom.
He picked you and selected you. He said to you, “I want you” as a planned and purposeful decision. He picked you first, not last.
I think one of the reasons why we might have negative thoughts about being chosen is because too often our choices are based on merit.
Just think of the huge number of choices we make each day: What clothes to wear – will they flatter me, make me look good? What cereal to buy – is it healthy and beneficial? What job to go for – does it pay better or give me more opportunities. Our lives are jam packed full of choices, and the choices we make are based on whether something is better or worse.
That was certainly true of my mates at school. They didn’t choose me for their team because I was rubbish at football. Understandable, but based on merit. That person is a better footballer than that person, so I pick them instead of them.
But God is not like that. It would be terrible if God chose us like the school football team. If we were chosen by God based on merit, we would be in trouble. Because we know we aren’t holy or faithful or perfect. Far from it. When it comes to our spiritual life, we probably feel like we merit being picked last.
But God is not like that. He does not choose the holiest. He chooses people who aren’t holy to be made holy. Paul tells us God chose us “to be holy and blameless in his sight.” He didn’t choose us because we were holy and blameless. He chose us to become holy and blameless. We don’t have to make the grade or earn his merit to be chosen by God. He has already chosen you. You are his.