Sometimes God’s word blows my mind! Its ramifications are so far reaching that my brain overheats while trying to comprehend it all. Such was the case recently as I began reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Right from the start, Paul captures the reader’s attention by focusing on the fact that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:3-6). Normally, when I read such passages, I wrestle to grasp the intangible line between God’s sovereignty and our human free will. This time, however, I decided to avoid that trap and focus on the significance of God’s intentionality.
Think about it! Before this world was created, before any human walked this earth, before any of us were even a gleam in the eye of a parent, the Creator of the Universe looked forward into history and chose us for His plans and purposes. I can’t begin to understand exactly how such things work, but I can see that it was all very deliberate.
It’s not like a gym class where one of the team captains is stuck with whoever is left after the rest of the players have been picked. God chose us to be in Him before any of the “players” even existed. And it’s not as though He knew nothing about us, or our circumstances. God knew everything—and still He chose. That statement bears repeating. God looked forward into time and, knowing absolutely everything about us, still chose us for His plans and purposes.
We have been chosen on purpose for a purpose. He chose us to know Him and He chose us to touch the lives of others. Each of us has been uniquely designed to touch a specific sphere of people. God will use all that we are and all that we’ve been through—even our negative experiences—to deeply touch the lives of others.
When considering such profound truths, there is a temptation to think, “Let’s go! Let’s get started! Let’s make an impact in people’s lives!” And as important as such a passion may be, we dare not forget the importance of preparation. The fact that God chooses and calls us to do something is not a guarantee that something will happen. We still play a significant role in the process. Many of God’s promises are if/then propositions. Specifically, if we walk in obedience to God, He will bring us into the fullness of what He has called us to do.
Consider, for example, a young man selected for the Naval Academy. Once chosen, he’s in. Still, years of training lie ahead if he is to reach the full potential of his capabilities. It’s not a perfect analogy to the Christian life, but it still communicates the message well enough. Regardless of how much water has flowed under the bridge of your life, now is the time to start.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to highlight four essential areas of growth that will help bring us into the fullness of our service to our King. They are character, chemistry, competence, and anointing. Each of us has been chosen by God for a purpose. May we be purposeful to prepare ourselves to be used!