Forever Chosen, Wanted and Desired – February 10, 2023 (50-51/365)

So last… Friday, was it? Yeah, last Friday I set out to talk to some folks. I was joined by my partners in a business we wanted to start, and we were told to present ourselves to the ‘neighbors’ of the lot we were looking to operate in. And we thought we were more or less favored – the local officials appreciated our proposal, and we thought of all this as a mere formality – but one resident responded with dissent, and this rattled us a little.

Fast forward to today. I spoke to the high school kids and from the get go I saw that they weren’t into it. I mean, some of them were attentive and listening, but the folks in the back, well, they had other things in their own minds – much so that they got a verbal whooping from the school administrator, who also happened to be around. I was rattled a little.

Both instances were discouraging, for sure. But we press on.

After that meeting with the residents last Friday, I happened to be close to Dad’s grave, so I went to pay him a visit. While I was there, I couldn’t help but pray, and as I did, I was brought to opening these verses:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his law.

Isaiah 42:1-4

At the time I suppose I was reminded of how God’s Servant – Christ – was absolutely determined to ‘bring forth justice to the nations’; and we see through the Gospels that, indeed, justice has been established to the nations and in the earth. At His baptism John proclaimed, He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the earth, and at the cross, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, He proclaimed, ‘it is finished’; But what was ‘it’? What was finished? Sin was taken away, and justice was served. Our salvation was finished. Completed.

Sin, apparently, was the greatest crime committed… and judgment was delivered, by way of our being set free from sin, and our being made righteous.

And so we may be rattled. A little or a lot. I may be discouraged. But let’s take heart from the other things mentioned in this set of verses. Just as Christ was upheld, so we are upheld. Through Christ’s finished work we have been lifted up, and we have been assured of support from no less than the Creator of all things seen and unseen (I seem to like saying that when expanding on God).

Just as Christ has been chosen, so we have been chosen – ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.’ (Ephesians 1:3-4); We were chosen in Christ before all that has been made has been made. To have chosen us, He would have thought about us – all we are, and all we do – and even before creation He already looked at us in favor – in fact, His soul delights in us.

And I suppose we see exactly how His soul delights in us, through how He did not hesitate to pour out His Spirit within us, through Christ’s resurrection and ascension. So not only have we been supported, but we have been chosen, and we have been delighted upon. And because we are loved this much by God, we would not be shaken, nor would we be so brash – We would be gentle, and we would be faithful towards the purposes the Lord has given to us, the functions the Lord has created us for.

The atmosphere was tense in one of the upper floors of a seemingly inconspicuous building in the outskirts of Berlin. The entire floor was converted to be the temporary base of operations for a group from the CIA tasked with tracking down the movements of one of their agents allegedly gone rogue: Jason Bourne. Their efforts to find the most recent activities of the agent were relatively fruitless so far… until they received a report that one of the passports issued to him in the past suddenly popped up in the port of entry of Naples, Italy.

Visibly relieved from this ‘break’, this revelation, one of the agents, Tom Cronin, made the following claim: “He’s making his first mistake.”

Nicky Parsons was with the CIA program, Operation Treadstone, since its genesis; She was there as the identity of Jason Bourne was being established, tested, and sharpened. When circumstances led to the scrapping of the program, Nicky went dark… until she was picked up again, now that the intelligence agency wanted to track their rogue agent down. She knew better, and immediately rebuked Cronin, saying: “It’s not a mistake. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t do random. There’s always an objective. Always a target.”

Pamela Landy, who was leading the hunt for Bourne, responded; “The objectives and targets always came from us. Who’s giving them to him now?”

Nicky immediately responded, “Scary version? He is.”

The persona of Jason Bourne has always influenced me, ever since I watched The Bourne Identity for the first time in college. Up until that time I’ve enjoyed the likes of James Bond, but upon being introduced to the Bourne storyline, I was apparently so inspired by him that I started to move and dress like him. Not necessarily stalker-like, but dressing down – not too flashy, not drawing any attention. Using information and data for my advantage, whenever I could.

At first, I thought it was pretty cool to have my own objectives and targets. It didn’t seem as ‘scary’ as Nicky described. I’m a free agent, with so much tools and skills and resources at my disposal, and I could use them for my benefit. I tried that route. Reveled in it, even. All those tenets, like ‘if you aren’t walking your own path, you’re being walked down someone else’s’? I was front and center in preaching that.

But I found out that while it was such an easy thing to claim, and such a tough thing to tout around… well, it’s in my trying to lead myself where I found exactly how weak I was, exactly. We refuse to be led by others, but in my efforts to try to lead myself, I found myself wanting.

That’s what I’m feeling right now. I thought I’d stop at saying that I was thankful for whatever directives were in existence and in effect, to keep me going even when I was discouraged or rattled… but going through the same verses now, I feel like I should also be saying, that these directives don’t just come from anywhere – no, they come from something beyond ourselves, some-ONE beyond ourselves; The directives of this created being – our true directives, anyway – they could only come from our Creator.

And here’s the thing – I’m writing all of this right now, in the light of what I’ve been listening to and learning these past days; from Joseph Prince and his theme for 2023, that this year is our year of being in the right place at the right time. I’m learning that there really is no guarantee of our progression if all our claims were built on the apparently shaky foundation of our own strength, speed, knowledge, and wealth. I guess what I’m trying to say is that just as Pastor Prince says that it is the Holy Spirit that directs us to be at the right place at the right time, so I believe it is the same Spirit that gives us our directives, and consequently our directions. In other words, sometimes we would discover that we have already been brought to the right place at the right time… and sometimes we would be given directives leading us to the said right place, and right time.

However we get there, we’re led there or brought there – not by our being the strongest, the fastest, the smartest, or the richest, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is with us always.

Isaiah speaks the words of God in the Old Testament: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

Christ rose from the dead, and before He ascended into heaven, He speaks as if to have fulfilled what was proclaimed, and at the same time passing the responsibility of the fulfillment to us: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20

Christ is with us. We will make disciples of all nations.

We may all have been created in our own unique ways, but we all share in some fundamental truths of who we are; We have all been created by God, we have all sinned, and we who have accepted Jesus Christ have been saved by way of being proclaimed righteous, as Christ became our sin. Our being proclaimed righteous has rendered us new creations, born again into the body of Christ.

And sure, we know all this. But one more thing we all have in common is that our directive is to make disciples of all nations. Some people may go ahead and take Christ’s words and call them ‘The Great Commission’; they may go as far as training people directly to fulfill this directive. People like myself, we say it from another angle – we celebrate Christ, and in so doing, we project the goodness of God for all to see, the same goodness that leads them to repentance. I’m not saying one approach is better than the other, but I will say this – we all have our own approaches, just as we all have been made with our own quirks and likes and dislikes, but we can all come together in agreeing that no matter how our lives are lived, as we live it knowing that we have been forever saved by Christ and His finished work… it all points towards our making disciples of all nations, for God’s will to be fulfilled – That none may perish, but that many would come to repentance.

In both instances where I was discouraged and rattled, it helped me to know that we had our underlying directives to fulfill, beyond these incidents that we viewed as setbacks, in the short-term. See, that’s the thing – when we look at the long game, the short-term incidents don’t seem as bad.

But, apparently, even if our long-term directives come to a painful halt… we have a directive that lasts until the end of all time and space; that is, to make disciples of all nations, to bring justice to the nations.

AND. Even at the end of nations, I believe we have another directive – well, one that has already been fulfilled by Christ, and one that we would continue to observe and fulfill, now and forever – that is, for us to enjoy our Creator, just as our Creator delights in us. I’d led to believe that the same God who chose us at the foundations of the world – He chose us before time was established, therefore, we can be sure that even at the end of time, He chooses us still. He still wants us. He always will.

What a beautiful revelation, don’t you think?

Until the next post, God bless you.

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