29th June 2016
Someone once said: “Christians are not citizens of this world trying to get to heaven. They are citizens of heaven making their way through this world!” Around 2000 years ago, the Apostle Peter wrote to believers who were going through hard times and his words speak to us today. He began his letter (I Peter) by saying that while difficult times will come, we must remember that we are chosen by God (I Peter 1:1-2). What does it mean to be chosen? Is there a difference between being called and being chosen? Are only some people chosen? How do we know?
The answer is found in a parable that Jesus told in Matthew 22 about a king who was preparing a wedding feast for his son. When he sent his servants to invite the guests, they were busy, preoccupied and even hostile. The king then decided to invite anyone and everyone to the wedding feast so the servants went out into the highways and byways to fill the hall with guests. He concludes the parable by saying, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14).
The point Jesus made is simple: Everyone is called, but not everyone is chosen. What makes the difference? While the invitation went out to everyone, only those who actually showed up were chosen. By coming to the wedding (which is God’s invitation to come to Him) the people in the parable became chosen. What this means is that we must choose to be chosen! Ask any wife about this. Her husband made the marriage proposal and she had to decide whether or not to accept the invitation to become his wife. She had to choose to be chosen.
Also, after we choose to be chosen, we must choose to stay chosen because this is a lifetime commitment and there will be challenges and temptations to give up. Just like marriages go through hard times, there will be moments when we will need to renew our commitment and choose to remain in a love relationship with Jesus by continuing to make a genuine, lasting choice to stay chosen.
I have been encouraged by the life stories of believers like Moses, Deborah, David, Esther and others in the Bible who made the choice to serve God and not to turn back when things got hard. The life stories of believers in more recent times have also been a source of inspiration to me. Hudson Taylor, John Sung, Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor and countless others have not only answered the call to be chosen, but they discovered a secret that kept them from giving up in spite of great distress and opposition.
Their secret of success is that God Himself promises to give us everything we need to answer His call to be chosen and then to continue as a chosen generation. God promises to meet us in our weakness and Peter had personally experienced this. After being called and chosen he had stumbled badly when he denied Christ. The restoration that took place after Christ rose again is echoed in the close of his letter. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 5:10-11 NASB).
Have you chosen to be chosen and then chosen to remain chosen? Many people hesitate because they feel they might lack the will power and determination to follow Christ wholeheartedly. Some have stumbled and are filled with regret and shame for falling short. The secret is out, though we are weak and prone to failure, Jesus Christ is the one “who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24 NASB).
You are called, chosen and assured of victory!