Has God passed you by? I’ve been enjoying “American Idol” over the past few weeks, but always feel the pain of the contestants who, each week, are informed they were not chosen. They are told, your best wasn’t good enough; go back to the hotel, get your stuff together and go back to your ordinary, humdrum life. Ouch. But the Bible uses that word, chosen, too. Israel is “God’s chosen people.” And Peter calls Christians,
To God’s elect, ….who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, …. 1 Peter 1b & 2a (excerpts)
If God chooses those who become Christians, does so by His own foreknowledge, and if you are not a Christian, does that mean God has passed you over? Has God rejected you? When you also realize that Jesus taught that only those who come to Him by faith are born into the Kingdom of Heaven and attain eternal life, this is no small question. Has God left you out? These other teachings of Jesus may sound to you as though Heaven is for “Members Only” and that it’s up to God who becomes a “member.”
John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am* the way* and the truth* and the life.* No one comes to the Father except through me.*
John 6:44 (NIV)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,* and I will raise him up at the last day.
But look more carefully at these other teachings of Jesus:
John 6:40 (NIV)
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son* and believes in him shall have eternal life,* and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:45 (NIV)
It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’** Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
So which is it: “no one” or “everyone?” Both, really. If you haven’t decided about Jesus but are still reading this, it is likely that God is “drawing you” to Himself. If you sense a desire to “listen to the Father” and “learn from Him” you are likely being drawn by God to come to Jesus. His will is that everyone who believes in Jesus “shall have eternal life.” Everyone. If you are willing, He won’t leave you out.
So who chooses? Is it you or is it God? As hard as it is to wrap our minds around it, the Bible says it is God Who chooses. But it feels as though we choose. The best way for me to illustrate this is with this scenario: Suppose my dog is sick and will die unless he eats a certain life-saving medicine. I wrap the medicine in his favorite peanut butter and put it out where he will find it. He gobbles it down. Who chose?
Bottom line is this: If you sense a desire to be closer to God, He will not leave you out. He will open the way for you to come to Him through Jesus. Follow that desire, take advantage of that open “Way,” and, mysteriously, you will have been “chosen!”