Just because something looks precarious doesn’t mean it is. Just because it looks strong doesn’t mean it has a lasting, dependable strength.
We’re usually taught to rely on our own strength. If we have to rely on anyone else, we’re seen as weak. At least, that’s been the predominant cultural message for quite a while. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” “Stand on your own two feet.” “Make sure you can provide for yourself.” Responsibility is a good thing, but self-reliance isn’t. It will get us into trouble, because we’ll begin to believe that we’re in charge, that we control what will happen next because of our own efforts. But, think about it, how much do you truly do with absolutely no influence or assistance from anyone else? People are interdependent. We need each other.
And we need God.
If we believe we have the strength to withstand everyday pressures, what happens when one day’s pressures become too much? We think the ledge beneath our feet will hold us up, because it has, day after day. But one day, we don’t realize how the ledge has been weakened over time, and a large chunk falls beneath us. On the other hand, if we believe we have no strength, we don’t step onto the ground that gives us the best perspective. We don’t fully enjoy what God has planned for us. We let fear and insecurity guide our steps instead of God’s assurance.
Strength isn’t ours to muster. We get it from somewhere. And that means we have to go to the source of it.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.Therefore my heart rejoices,and I praise Him with my song. (Psalm 29:7)
Remember being chosen for teams in elementary and middle school? Perhaps your experience was great, because you got chosen first. With it, came a level of pressure to perform. For many others, being chosen first, or even among the first, wasn’t a possibility. Who ever thought putting a couple peers as team captains was a good idea? I can’t imagine it ever really turning out very well for everyone involved.
Being chosen in real life is actually humbling. To realize someone chooses you to fulfill important responsibilities can be overwhelming.
I was recently asked to serve on a team for which I hadn’t even considered being included. It’s a good thing I hadn’t considered it, because if it had been on my radar, I probably would have either rationalized why I didn’t want to be involved or begin to take on some of the weight and honor on my own. As it was, it completely caught me off guard, and God used that off-balance to confirm security in his way instead of my preference or comfort.
I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
You don’t get chosen because of your own merit…well, at least not chosen for anything really worth being chosen for. What’s really important is what God chooses for you…and responding when God chooses you.
God’s choices aren’t the same as a middle school P.E. dodge ball team captain. God chooses you when you’re not the obvious star. He knows your potential more than anyone else. When he chooses us, we don’t respond with a fist pump. We’re more humbled and overwhelmed, because when we know God well enough, we know being chosen comes with quite a bit of responsibility and a lot of the unknown. But in the process, we trust God.