I still remember that bag of cookies Mom would bring home after her weekly visit to the grocery store. My brother and I hovered over the colorful package, ready to tear in and secure our selected favorites from the other unwanted assortment. I wasn’t interested in the spiced raison squares. Were they kidding? What kid wants bite-sized fruitcake? The vanilla sandwich cookies weren’t much better. I’m pretty sure that was wallpaper paste holding the two wafers together. Besides those, there were also oatmeal cookies. It might have been better to play air hockey with those pucks of steel.
The Perfect Choice!
As for me, I was interested in only one thing in that bag – the chocolate chip cookies! Okay, they didn’t hold a candle to Mrs. Field’s soft and gooey treats, but they were the best of the bunch. And because they had at least a smidgen of chocolate, they became my cookie of choice. Yes, I chose them! I set them aside for my good pleasure. I saved them from being devoured by the enemy – in this case, my brother.
I use this as an illustration to help describe the “born again” experience. It’s important to understand that God chose us long before we ever chose Him. Some explain this as the doctrine of “election” or “predestination.” These terms are known to provoke much debate in Christian circles. While we may not agree on every detail, we do agree that God is the initiator when it comes to our salvation.
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
Just as I chose the chocolate chip cookies, God chooses us. But God operates differently than I do. He doesn’t discriminate. When I reach into a bag of assorted cookies, I choose one over the other. I pick what I believe to be the best of the bunch. God isn’t like that at all. He reaches down for the crumbs. He takes the broken pieces and makes them whole again.
Not only does God choose us, He sets us apart. Why? For the same reason I set apart those chocolate chip cookies. I set them apart for my own pleasure! Likewise, God sets us apart for His purposes. This is known as the doctrine of “sanctification.” We are a set apart people. We may be ‘in’ the world, but we’re no longer ‘of’ it.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Not only does God choose us and set us apart, he guards us from the enemy much like those cookies I predestined for my personal pleasure. Once they were in my possession, they were hands-off to anyone else who wished to devour them. God feels even more protective of us.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
It’s true! God’s Spirit is in you! And he’s not looking for a roommate! In other words – you’re off limits to demonic spirits. They can taunt, tease and tempt you, but they cannot possess or control you. They’ll be destroyed if they try.
Isn’t it wonderful to be in God’s grip? We are chosen by Him, set apart for Him and kept in Him… in Christ! We don’t want to forget that important detail! It’s through the hands of Jesus that He lays hold of us. Once we’re in His grip, He hangs onto us for dear life. Jesus assures:
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” John 6:37
Sunday Morning at 9:30 & 11:30am
Wednesday Evening at 7:00
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660