I recently noticed a theme among the videogames I enjoy playing. Not death or destruction, not sports, not Mario. I like to play games where you are chosen. I enjoy playing NCAA Football because you are constantly recruiting players, hoping the best ones will attend your school. I like to play Mass Effect, because every conversation determines how loyal that teammate will be to me. I like to play FIFA because you play through a season as a player and see which teams will bid for your services. And honestly it’s probably why I don’t play huge role-playing games or the Sims, because it would be too addictive.
Being chosen is incredibly important to us. And I have found a false way to feed that need. When the truth is, being married, I was chosen as a husband by an amazingly loving and beautiful woman. And being adopted, I was chosen as a son by a loving godly family. And being a Christian, I was chosen by the God of the universe.
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5 ESV)
I have been chosen by God. That should end any question of value on my part. It’s is better than being chosen for any pickup game of basketball. It is better than any girl’s affection. It is better than having a hit radio song (in which case, you have to be chosen both by the music director at the radio station and by the people listening!). And yet, I still doubt my worth. I still wonder. But Paul says here to the Thessalonians that we can know we are chosen. There are three things we can look for in our lives, and in honor of preachers, they all start with C.
Change: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in power. Power causes change. So any good change in our lives is witness to the power of God moving in the ones He has chosen.
Connection: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in the Holy Spirit. God connects us to Himself by putting part of Himself in us. So any relationship we have with the Spirit, praying through Him, hearing from Him, is proof that we have been chosen.
Conviction: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in conviction. God desires to see His chosen be perfected. He is not satisfied to stand by and allow us to live mediocre lives. One of the ways He affects our growth is conviction. The Spirit cries out when we are choosing something apart from Him. It is a cry of grief. It is a call for change. And it is God speaking into our lives.
So I am chosen. Because I can look at my life and see how I have changed. I couldn’t have accomplished that; God must have done it. I can see that I have a connection with Him, which I obviously couldn’t have created or even earned. And I definitely feel His conviction. All these are signs to remind me that I am chosen. And that is enough for me.