I’m fifteen days in to thirty days of ‘I am’ statements, part of a series at my church about the labels we wear versus the labels God gives us. It’s been great, actually, just taking fifteen minutes every day to focus on one thing that I am in Christ.
Just like it can be easy to forget all of the things God blesses us with every day, it can be equally easy to forget all of the things God makes us when we give our lives to Him. Yes, we are saved. Yes, we are forgiven. But there’s so much more than that.
Today, I spent time thinking about this label from God:
I am chosen.
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who was not the first to be chosen for sports teams at school. In fact, I was not the one to even be chosen second, third or fourth. I was more like the ‘well, okay, if we have to have her…’ type. What can I say, I’m better at watching sports than I am at playing them!! But in God, I am chosen. Always.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.”
– Colossians 3:12 (emphasis mine)
God has chosen us. You, and me. He has chosen each of us to be His, to live a new life of love. Each of us has a unique purpose, and because of that we are each uniquely capable and important. That’s no small label, no small blessing.
I’m about to be twenty-nine years old. And I still don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up! Actually, I know that I want to be a writer, but I don’t know how or what that will look like or how I will get there exactly. I live four thousand miles from my parents, I am an independent person, and yet I still message my mum when I have a big decision to make. Sometimes, I just don’t know and I want someone to help me figure out my purpose, my decision, what I am supposed to be doing. I want to know which way I am supposed to go.
But I am chosen by God. When I don’t know which way to go, God has the path mapped out for me; I just have to keep moving forward. When I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, God knows my exact and true purpose in Him; I just have to keep looking upwards. And when I don’t know how I will keep going on, God still chooses me; I just have to keep loving Him.
Because this is the thing I am learning as I study each of the labels God gives me: they are all in the present tense.
Another thing that it’s easy to do is to keep on saying, ‘I’m just a sinner saved by grace’. You’ve probably heard that phrase before, and you’ve probably heard it said by people who walk closely with God. It’s true, of course. We sin and we have been saved by grace. But here’s the thing: we have been saved. Saved. We are no longer defined by sin: we’re free of it. My favorite hymn is ‘Amazing Grace’. The words might be familiar: ‘amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…’ Look at it again: we were a wretch, but we’re not anymore. If we keep going around saying we are, that we’re just hopeless sinners so don’t expect much from us, I reckon God gets a bit fed up. I can just imagine Him rolling his eyes at us, Guys, come on, we’ve been over this already. Remember the cross? Yep. It’s done. The saving has already happened. You can’t keep using that old wretch excuse anymore. Move on already!
The labels of sinner, wretch, hopeless, are all past tense. We are living now in the present tense. Grace is present tense.
It’s not that we were chosen, it’s that we are chosen. We weren’t loved just yesterday but today, too: we are loved. We are free. We are hopeful. We are part of God’s plan. We are His chosen people.
One of my favorite books has a beautiful chapter ending where the protagonist talks about love. It’s a simple passage, but the gist of it is this: love is a choice, a daily choice to stand alongside someone, to forgive them, to trust them, to do everything new and with conviction every day, to start again and again and again with belief and freedom. That’s the kind of love God gives us. He loves us every day, over and over, however many times we disappoint or mess up. And He chooses us every day too. Every day, God gives anew, and every day we can choose to live in the present tense. To be the labels that God gives us. To be loved, to be chosen by Him.
Every day, God chooses us. And every day we can choose to shine for Him.