You Have Been Chosen

Life for many people doesn’t look or feel like what they are accustomed to. Every time it seems as if we’re heading for an even keel, something completely unexpected happens and sets us back. We want things to be at least half-way normal, but we must grapple with the reality that a new ‘normal’ is on the horizon. It’s true that everything around us seems shaky and unstable, but this isn’t the first time. Every generation has experienced what they consider unprecedented confusion and chaos. As believers, times like these will put our faith to the test. God does not cause them, but He allows them. He will work through the most challenging and difficult times that we experience. Although our environments and circumstances are not optimal, although they may be shaky and unstable, God’s expectation is that we, ourselves, we will not follow suit. He expects us to be rock solid when it comes to our faith in Him.

In the Bible, there are many examples of individuals that have stood in faith amid tremendous crisis’s and upheaval. The record of the life of the Apostle Paul demonstrates not only an example of someone dedicated to Christ, but his life reveals the incredible struggle that many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ endured. The ironic thing is that many struggles for some Christians living during that time were actually initiated by Paul, before his conversion.

Acts 6 tells us about Stephen, a man that was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith in God. Acts 6:8(NLT), says, “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.” During this time, there were those who believed themselves to be the upper echelon of Jewish society, and they compelled themselves to challenge any who believed in the Way of Christ. They confronted Stephen but couldn’t stand against the wisdom of the Spirit that was in him, so they lied about him and slandered him to others. They roused the people against Stephen and arrested him. The glory of the Lord was upon him as he stood accused, but the people were full of hatred because of the truth he spoke.

As believers today, we must be aware of this spirit of darkness that is still present in the world today. There will be people who hate us simply because of the light of Christ within us. They don’t want to hear the truth but want to continue holding on to the lie that makes them arrogant and comfortable being in the darkness. This same spirit of darkness was working in those that accused Stephen and ultimately stoned him to death. Acts 7:59-60(NLT) tells us, “59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”

All of this was done at the prodding of Paul before his conversion. His name at that time was Saul, and Saul persecuted many Christians. You and I will most likely not encounter anything like the circumstances that existed when Stephen set about preaching and witnessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Believers during this time, not long after the ascension of Christ, put their lives at stake daily in order to worship Heavenly Father through His precious and powerful Son. Speaking the truth could cost them their lives, and very often did, yet they would not allow this to deter them from spreading the Gospel. Those of us living today, have nothing like their excuse, and we do far less. Our faith muscles become flaccid and flabby because some of us will not stand strong for the Lord.

The reality of the transformation that God did in Saul’s life is staggering. He was on his way, on the road to Damascus, to persecute more Christians when he heard the voice of Jesus Christ calling out to him. Paul said in Act 22:7-8(NLT), “7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.’” Moving and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Paul was commissioned to do by Christ in the early church is proof of his destiny in the Lord. We have a destiny as well and fulfilling it must be the greatest motivation of our lives.

As we can clearly see, the Apostle Paul was not a perfect man, far from it. Before he was born-again, he believed wrong was right and right was wrong. Saul was absolutely sure that persecuting Christians was the way to go. According to the laws and rules that he was taught, the Way of Christ was against everything he had believed. So, when he accepted Christ, and his name was changed from Saul to Paul, his system of thinking and believing had to be reconstructed. Paul was taught by the Spirit through communion and fellowship with Christ. The only way that such a drastic turnaround could take place in Paul’s life was through his commitment to humility and obedience. It was required of Paul and it is required of us. We will have to release our old ways of thinking and behaving. We’ll have to relinquish worldly fears and fixations and begin to focus our every energy on growing and maturing in Christ.

The Father has hand-picked us out to be followers and ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our responsibility is no less than Paul’s, but we have exponentially more avenues and ways in which to get it done. We are called by God to be lights of the world. Our Heavenly Father does not deal in ambiguity, everything He does has a purpose and a reason. We need to start living like we believe unequivocally that God knows what He’s doing. Just as the Father chose Paul for his assignment, we have been chosen as well. Our assignment is equally important, and it is to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Ephesians 1:3 declares that God has equipped us with everything we need. So, instead of joining, fearing, or adding to the chaos of the world, we must take our rightful place and know that we’ve been empowered and chosen to overcome it through Jesus Christ. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“You Have Been Chosen”, written by JMack,© 2022. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savio

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