Chosen and Loved
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We see a prison; God sees a kiln. We see famine; God sees the relocation of his chosen lineage. We call it Egypt; God calls it protective custody, where the sons of Jacob can escape barbaric Canaan and multiply abundantly in peace. We see Satan’s tricks and ploys. God sees Satan tripped and foiled.
Let me be clear. You are a version of Joseph in your generation. You represent a challenge to Satan’s plan. You carry something of God within you, something noble and holy, something the world needs—wisdom, kindness, mercy, skill. If Satan can neutralize you, he can mute your influence.
The story of Joseph is in the Bible for this reason: to teach you to trust God to trump evil. What Satan intends for evil, God, the Master Weaver and Master Builder, redeems for good.
Joseph would be the first to tell you that life in the pit stinks. Yet for all its rottenness, doesn’t the pit do this much? It forces you to look upward. Someone from up there must come down here and give you a hand. God did for Joseph. At the right time, in the right way, he will do the same for you. …
I’ve met many Egypt-bound people. Down, down, down.
I’ve learned the question to ask. If you and I were having this talk over coffee, this is the point where I would lean across the table and say, “What do you still have that you cannot lose?” The difficulties have taken much away. I get that. But there is one gift your troubles cannot touch: your destiny. Can we talk about it?
You are God’s child. He saw you, picked you, and placed you. “You did not choose me; I chose you” (John 15:16). Before you are a butcher, baker, or cabinetmaker, male or female, Asian or black, you are God’s child. Replacement or fill-in? Hardly. You are his first choice. …
He chose you. The choice wasn’t obligatory, required, compulsory, forced, or compelled. He selected you because he wanted to. You are his open, willful, voluntary choice. He walked onto the auction block where you stood, and he proclaimed, “This child is mine.” And he bought you “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). You are God’s child.
You are his child forever.
Don’t believe the tombstone. You are more than a dash between two dates. “When this tent we live in”—our body here on earth—“is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Don’t get sucked into short-term thinking. Your struggles will not last forever, but you will.—Max Lucado1
Raised, redirected, and rescued
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.—Ephesians 2:4–5
God places His own Spirit in us to be the means of governing how we live and behave. His presence in us works to produce His moral character so that we portray His love, compassion and goodness. But detached from God, left to ourselves, we actually have no choice but to be swept along with the ways of this world. This is inevitable, because we have been designed to function in union with God, but separated from Him leaves a vacuum that has to be filled. …
Having been raised with Christ, we become a new creation indwelt by His Spirit. Our lives are then redirected to fulfill His purpose. Paul says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Our works are evidence of what is going on inside us, and good works are the evidence of spiritual life.
As Christians, we have been raised, redirected, and we have also been rescued. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). In Christ, we are saved through faith, and being saved is to be safe.
God raises, redirects, and rescues us, but not just for this life. Paul writes, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6–7). That is [so that] beyond this life, this age and time, we might see and experience the incomparable riches of God’s grace.—Charles Price
Love beyond human limits
It’s human nature to be self-preserving, self-seeking, self-satisfying. It’s human nature to put our own needs and survival above others. But here’s where those who have received God’s Spirit and love in Jesus have a great advantage, because the Bible promises, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus helps us break those natural circuits. He rewires our minds and hearts to do His bidding, which is to love others.
In today’s world, many people are so caught up in meeting their own needs and fulfilling their own desires, and the thought of sacrificially loving someone else hardly enters their minds. There is an even greater need for people to see God’s love in action, because many people are no longer sensitive to the reflection of the Lord’s love in the many blessings He gives them, even when they don’t deserve those blessings (Matthew 5:45).
The world is dying for the kind of love Jesus talked about and lived. This is why He challenges us to manifest deep, sacrificial, impartial love for others, even though He knows such love is far beyond our human capabilities. It’s impossible for us to show such love on our own, and if we try to do this ourselves, we’ll be disappointed, frustrated, and wear ourselves out trying. But if we will simply ask Jesus for that love and then be willing to put it into action, He will give it to us.
To become the new creation He wants to make you, it takes a willing mind and heart, a believing spirit, being faithful in prayer, and following through with many small deeds of unselfish love. As you begin to do your part, you will find that you think more of others, feel their needs more readily, and have more genuine concern for their happiness and well-being.
When you give of yourself, when you go out of your way to be a friend, when you take time to talk to someone who’s lonely or comfort someone who’s sick, when you sympathize and help someone with their problems, when you make someone feel needed, and when you point someone to the source of this extraordinary love you share—Jesus—you will be blessed personally with the joy of knowing that you have been a blessing to someone in need.
Let’s each do our part to let Jesus’ love for others shine through us. Let’s set a good example of the Lord’s unconditional love. Let’s bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill God’s commandments to love and the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).—Maria Fontaine
A prayer for His blessing
May God bless your life with beauty—the beauty of both the sun and the rain, for these are the elements that cause a garden to grow, a flower to blossom, a rainbow to form, and a life to flourish.
May God reward your life with peace—the peace that is found in a relationship with God, the peace that passes understanding, the peace that is possible in the midst of storms.
May God touch your life with joy—the joy of knowing you are always His child, the joy of knowing He is always your Father. And may this joy be your strength and give you courage in life.
May God fill your life with love—the love of family, the love of loved ones, the love of friends, the love of companions, the love of children, but most importantly, the love of God. May you always live in the awareness that God’s love for you is unconditional, unbreakable, and eternal.—Maria Fontaine
Published on Anchor June 2023. Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Fogarty.
1 Max Lucado, You’ll Get through This (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
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