Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In A Word: Chosen

Red Rover. It's the classic children's game where players are divided into two teams forming two distinct lines facing one another. Players stand shoulder to shoulder either holding hands or interlocking arms together to form an unbreakable barrier. The game starts with one team chanting the rhyme of "Red rover, red rover, send (insert name here) right over." The player whose name is called leaves the line and runs directly into the line of the opposing team. The point is to break through the line/barrier. If the barrier is broken then the player returns to his/her own team bringing back an opponent as a prize. If the line is not broken, then the player must join the opponents' line. The team with the most members at the end of the game wins.

Looking back, it's obvious that the game was centered a lot around the concept of being chosen. Before the game even started team captains would be chosen. From there, team captains would commence in choosing players to join their team. Kids would often jump up and down yelling, "Me, me, pick me!" Everyone wanted to be chosen first; no one wanted to be chosen last. To be chosen first was a great honor and usually meant the player was well liked. To be chosen last was not to be chosen at all. It meant team membership by default, which was as good as being told, "We'll take you, but it's not because we want you." Once the game started, there were more opportunities to be chosen. The player called to run to the other side was usually called because the opposing team either wanted the player for their own or they knew the player wouldn't be strong enough to break through the line. It was either honor or insult. Everyone wanted to be called just as much as they didn't.

Obviously, when we're old enough to analyze the game that much then we're probably too old to play the game, but sometimes it's not up to us. Life is filled with times when all we really want is to be recognized for our strengths and not our weaknesses. We want to be chosen or as it might be called "promoted," "elected," "appointed," or "hired." We crave acceptance and understanding and when we seek it from the world's standards, we're in for disappointment. We may be chosen to run over to the other side, but we're unable to break through. We join the team (the firm, the class, the group) and before long we become just like everyone else. Nothing special. A member by default and not by choice.

That's kind of depressing, isn't it? That's what life feels like when that's all we hang on to. But there is so much more to life than that. God says we are His "chosen people, holy and dearly loved" (Colossians 3:12). God looks past our weaknesses and even what we call our strengths and sees us for who He created us to be; His beloved sons and daughters. There's no "come on over to this side and see if you can make it." He knows we can't. Apart from His strength, we can do nothing. We are the sheep in need of a shepherd and He is that shepherd; ready and able to lead us (Psalm 23, John 10).

In the New International Version of the Bible, the passage in Colossians 3 is titled "Living as Those Made Alive in Christ." God has called us into His family. We are a royal people; a people covered in sin yet washed clean by the blood of Christ. We "have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption ...we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs...and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:15-17). We have been chosen to be part of an incredible family. Let's start living like those who've been made alive in Christ!
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts" (Colorssians 3:16-).

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