Intimacy…Known…Chosen… Set apart…Desired
These words all reflect the tenor of Paul’s opening sentence to the believers in Ephesus. As I read all the ways I am known by God, the lengths he went to in order to guarantee a relationship with me, my heart is stirred.
The best gifts I ever received all have one thing in common — forethought. Gifts at expected times are not really my thing. If you don’t give me a birthday gift I won’t notice. Dave and I rarely exchange gifts on birthdays, Christmas or anniversaries. That might seem like an atrocity to some, but for us, it isn’t the way we show love. But there have been a few times in my life when I received a gift that stopped me in my tracks.
When Dave and I were dating, he would sometimes show up at my apartment in Ohio with a gift in hand. I remember two of those gifts like it was yesterday. One was a white mug and on the inside there was a heart shaped balloon and it said “love you” above it. The other was a part of a collection of figurines called Country Cousins. It was a little boy and girl in farmer clothes sitting on a porch swing with a chalkboard behind them. On the chalkboard in childish handwriting it said, “I love you ’cause you’re my best friend.”
It wasn’t the gifts that spoke to my heart. It was the time and thought it took to go and find the gift, choose something with an appropriate message, buy it and bring to me. The messages were simple, heartfelt and sincere. This is the message of Ephesians to us today. Listen to Paul’s words…
4Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.Ephesians 1:4-5
Read the verses again. Note the timing of God’s decisions. Before he made the world, decided in advance! What did he want? For you and I to be holy and without fault (without blame)! Why? Because he wanted to! It gave him great pleasure!
You are not an after thought, an obligation or someone brought in to satisfy some grandiose need for affirmation. You are dearly loved, sought after, chosen! Before you ever were, before you could do right or wrong, before you knew your left from your right — you were chosen, adopted and loved! Go ahead. Do a little happy dance! Don’t let anyone take that away from you today!
Happy Hump Day!