Chosen

Here we are, just a few days from closing out 2013 and entering into a brand new year.

Throughout our lives, it is easy to lose track of what is important. Just as the saying goes, sometimes we can’t see the forest because of the trees. It doesn’t take much to shift our perspective and lead us astray. It’s sort of like this couple:

http://on.wtae.com/1bsuqNC

Obviously there is more to the story than what we see. However, that’s exactly the point. This couple landed themselves in prison on Christmas day because of a fight that broke out because the man did not pickup BBQ sauce when he was at the store.

Many other factors all came together and built pressure so that the smallest little issue caused it all to explosively blow. As another saying goes, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

How many times does this occur with us in life? Our perspective and judgment becomes cloudy and unclear because of life’s circumstances. We make foolish decisions based on our immediate needs that have a detrimental long term impact. We do things that we just know that we’re going to regret. Things aren’t ideal in one area of life and that frustration gets released toward others for something completely unrelated. For example:

Finances are tight and so, all of the sudden, WW3 breaks out because the kids left their toys out.
If the toys are where they belong, will it in any way solve your financial problems? NO!
Is it the kid’s fault that you didn’t receive that raise that you had anticipated? NO!
Does your three year old understand the stress that you are under? NO!
Is it fair to unleash your frustrations on that child? NO!
Have we all done something similar to this? YES!

One of life’s greatest challenges is keeping a proper perspective.

It’s easy to see the way to safety from a helicopter, birds eye view. However, it’s overwhelming when you are panicked and lost in dark and unfamiliar woods. Even though you may be only 25 yards from the familiar road to home, uncertainty convinces you that you are hopeless and miles away from it.

This morning, with another year soon arriving, I believe that God wants to give us this birds-eye view perspective of life. Many, many times in scripture, God gives mankind such perspective changes. He draws them up to Himself, gives them fresh revelation, and then sends them right back out into the circumstances from which they were taken from. Although their circumstances remain unchanged, their new perspective makes everything seem radically different.

We see these perspective changes every time that Jesus says, “Follow me.” both in the gospel accounts as well as in the lives of all today who answer His call.

This morning, I believe that God wants us to stop and gain proper perspective in these facts about ourselves.

We, and everything else, were created by Jesus and for Jesus; our lives are not our own!

Colossians 1:16 (KJV)
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him

1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

Many times in life, this perspective change applies. It becomes very easy for us to make our lives all about us. We can easily become consumed by our opinions, will, and desires and forsake God’s truth, His will, and His purpose for our lives. We do what is right in our own eyes, which is often driven by our emotions.

We can even begin to do good and serve God as a mere way to gain His favor and expect Him to serve us. In return for our obedience, we expect God’s favor to manifest in the form of prospered finances and other physical blessings. When those things fail to come our way, we get irritated and frustrated.

We forget that God’s desire is for us to first prosper in soul and spirit. He desires that we have within us a pure and selfless heart and for our character to be mature and complete even as He is. His blessings are purposed to prosper us in every way; especially in the ways in which we need them the most. His blessings are not purposed to prosper us in the way that we desire the most and need the least.

Our lives are not for us, they are for Jesus. Philippians 2 calls us to have the same attitude in our relationships as Jesus did. He considered Himself nothing, thinking of the needs of others first and choosing to serve them all; especially the least of them. Because of this attitude, God gave Him the name above every name and exalted Him above all else. This manifested God’s truths that whoever loses their lives for Christ’s sake will find their lives, whoever is last will be first, and whoever humbles themselves will be exalted.

Jesus said that whenever we chose to put Him and His kingdom first in our lives, that He will take care of the rest of our needs. We can trust in Him for He is good and faithful!

When we begin to allow this fact to permeate our thoughts and our being, our purpose in life becomes more clear. The fog created by our immediate circumstances lifts as eternity comes into focus. God’s peace and joy can begin to fill our lives and flow out for them as we understand:

We, and everything else, were created by Jesus and for Jesus; our lives are not our own!

The second fact that we can then move onto is that:

God does not need us to accomplish His will. God chose us to accomplish His will.

Acts 17:24-28
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

Before we ever chose Christ, He chose us. While we were yet dead in our sins and transgressions and headed straight for Hell, Jesus paid the debt that we owed. While we hated Him, He loved us. While we paid Him no mind, His thoughts were consumed with us. While we were lonely and unlovable orphans, He adopted us in and granted us a rich inheritance.

Ephesians 1:3-14
3 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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

God doesn’t need a single thing from us; He is self-existent. God can accomplish His will and His purposes all on His own with no problems. We are helpless and have nothing, not even our next breath without Him. Yet, God CHOSE us to bring Heaven to Earth and to reveal Himself to the world.

He chose us to reveal His mysteries to. He chose us, all so different and unique, to work together in unity to be the physical body of Christ here on the earth (1 Corinthians 12). He chose us to have it be here on earth as it is in Heaven. He chose us to work in and through.

This fact is both humbling and honoring! Why would He chose us? We’re so sinful, broken, and selfish. We’re here one minute and gone the next. Our lives are so short and so temporary. And yet for centuries, God has chosen the most unlikely people to accomplish His will here on the earth and to reveal Himself to the world. Jesus personally chose fishermen, a thief, and a tax collector to be the twelve disciples who would be the leaders of the Church and would begin a movement that would reach every people group of every nation for the rest of history.

God does not need us to accomplish His will. God chose us to accomplish His will.

This morning, as the new year approaches, let these two facts put all of your worries, concerns, and frustrations in proper perspective.

You were created by Jesus and for Jesus and Jesus has chosen YOU to accomplish His will here on the earth. Everything else is SECONDARY! So long as we are faithful in keeping Christ first, we can trust that He’ll take care of all of the rest!

I leave you this morning with a challenge.

You were created by Jesus and for Jesus and you were chosen by Him for a divine purpose in a divine time such as this. Don’t let 2014 come and go like any other year. Seek out the Lord’s purpose for your life this year. Simply pray. Tell Him that this year is His and ask Him to show you what He desires you to accomplish this year. Offer up your life to Him and see what He is able and willing to do in it and through it. If you begin to think that your plans for your life are better or you begin to doubt His plans, read Job chapters 38-41. Read it as if though the Lord is speaking directly to you, as He really is, and allow the Lord to put things in proper perspective. Read it knowing that the One who can answer every question posed is more than able and willing to take care of you. He is faithful and trustworthy to meet the needs of those who are faithful and trustworthy to fulfill His purposes!

God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future; to prosper you in every way. Trust Him and step out of your plans and into the Lord’s this year. It’s bound to be a powerful adventure!