A professor in a world-acclaimed medical school once posed this medical situation — and an ethical problem — to his students: “Here’s the family history: The father has syphilis. The mother has TB. They already have had four children. The first is blind. The second had died. The third is deaf. The fourth has TB. Now the mother is pregnant again; The parents come to you for advice. They are willing to have an abortion if you decide they should. What do you say?”
The students gave various individual opinions, and then the professor asked them to break into small groups for “consultation.” All of the groups came back to report that they would recommend abortion.
“Congratulations,” the professor said, “You just took the life of Beethoven!”
Have you ever felt unsure about your importance in the world or wondered if you matter to God? It is possible you have felt uncertain about your usefulness or whether God found you acceptable. If this describes you, then I want you to hang with me through this next series of “Finding Your Place in the World.” In this series, we will examine important things about our identity in Christ. It is my prayer that you will gain a greater sense of your divine purpose.
You were On God’s Radar from the Beginning.
“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:4
When I was a young kid, I was not an athletic stud. When the kids in my neighborhood would get a game together whether it was basketball or football, the players would line up, and the captains would choose their teams one by one. Inevitably, as the draft took place, I would be one of the last ones standing there. After all the other players had been chosen, and the pickings got thinner, the captain who was about to get stuck with me would first look up and down the block, hoping against hope that another potential teammate was approaching, he eventually had to settle for choosing me. It didn’t matter who, someone’s younger brother or sister, even someone’s aging grandmother. When it was obvious no other help could be found he would point at me and say, “OK, I’ll take Keith.” Somehow, that didn’t make me feel chosen. I was just the lesser of two evils. In fact, I had the feeling that if it hadn’t been my ball we were using, I had the sneaking suspicions I wouldn’t have gotten to play at all.
I think many of us can relate to this feeling in some arena of our lives. It may be in the realm of relationships and dating where it seems we are always the third wheel. Or in our profession, when the new people keep jumping over us for promotions. We can relate to the feeling being the second fiddle in a rock and roll band. We are the last one chosen and the least talented in at least some area—academically, athletically or musically. Fear not, there is a field where we never need to feel that way: our relationship with God. Probably all of us have wondered, at one time or another, “If they had it to do all over again, would they choose me? Would they hire me? Would she marry me?” Maybe some of you have even thought, “If God had it do over, would He choose me again?” Some of you believe that you have been such a disappointment to God that He would have been better off if He had not created and redeemed you in the first place. The message from Ephesians 1 is the exact opposite of that notion. The message of Ephesians is that God invited and welcomed you into the body of Christ not because He had to, but because it was God’s heart’s desire to do so. You are part of His plan. From the beginning, He has wanted you to be a member of his family.
(v. 5) “…he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
You are part of His plan. From the beginning, it was His idea that you would become good.
Notice what Paul says,
(v. 4) “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us to be holy and without fault in his eyes…”
.Whether or not you think it’s possible for you to become “holy and without the blame,” the Bible makes it clear that God thinks it is possible. Whether or not you believe in your potential, God believes in your potential.
You are part of His plan. From the beginning, God has known that you would arrive at this moment.
(v. 11-12) “…for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.”
Long before Genesis 1:1, God knew that you would be where you are today in your job, in your relationships, in all areas of your life. He was aware that you would be here at this moment. For some, it’s been a rough ride. There have been mistakes and disappointments along the way, and you’ve fallen short of God’s glory more times than you want to admit. Many of you have many regrets, and you’ve wanted to give up many times. But God’s love for you has never changed. From the beginning, he has known that your life would bring you to this place today. Even though your past may be littered with failure upon failure, it doesn’t change the fact that God loves you, He chose you, and He believes in you. You have been on His mind from the very beginning.
Other posts about identity: