LifeLink Devotions (Click for Audio Blog)
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
“I’ll take John.“
Growing up I didn’t usually hear those words until there were only two of us left. The two boys who were selected to be captains had already chosen all of the best players for their teams. I knew they wouldn’t choose me right away. Most were better hitters because they had more muscle. I was the skinny, tall kid who still stumbled over his feet because he had grown faster than anyone else and his coordination hadn’t caught up. I knew I would be included on one of the teams, but I also knew that the rest of the team may not be very enthusiastic about me being one of them. But regardless of what they thought of me, I would do my best and give my all to make them glad they chose me and not the other guy. I may have been included as a last resort this time, but I would earn my way up the ladder and get chosen earlier next time.
The need to feel included is huge, but simple inclusion isn’t enough. Without acceptance and participation, inclusion is meaningless. But in Christ we have been included, accepted, and been granted full rights of participation. I can’t speak for you, but for me this is an incredible truth. We have been chosen by God to participate on His team.
Ephesians 1:11-14 “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, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”
At first it appears that Paul, the author of this letter to the Ephesians, is about to distinguish between those who were chosen first and those who were added later. Paul and the rest of the Jewish Christians to whom Jesus had revealed Himself first and were His chosen people since the days of Abraham seem to have an advantage over everyone else. God appears to be just like all the human team captains we’ve known – the first chosen will be the ones that bring Him the most glory.
But wait, here comes the incredible part. God included the Gentiles on the team too, and not because He had to because they were in line waiting to be chosen, but because He wanted to so He could get even more glory. He not only included us, but He gave us a permanent Uniform to identify us as one of His team members forever. The Uniform marks us as His possession, and informs us of our position on the team. When wearing the Uniform, we are equipped to play that position like no one else can. The Uniform destroys all distinctions between members of the team, and erases all relevance of when we were chosen. The Uniform guarantees equal acceptance. Every team member is assigned the same ultimate purpose – to be for the praise of our Captain’s glory.
We’ve been included in Christ. We’ve been accepted by God. We’ve been given the privilege and power to participate in God’s pursuit of the championship of the world. Of course we know He is already the Champion. We now live to let the rest of the world know they can be on the winning team. And the more people we bring to the line to get chosen, the more praise there will be to His glory.