It begins on the playground when we stand among the leftovers when teams are chosen. I remember as a young boy in the late fifties when the jocks in the neighborhood were choosing teams for a game of sandlot baseball. I have vivid memories of what it felt like to be the last man chosen. The team captain that eventually picked me had no other choice because none were left to prefer over me.
But the process continues at every stage of life when, as awards and honors are bestowed, we’re left out. Our culture seems obsessed with recognition for achieving greatness of some sort — or at least notoriety. With a steady stream of awards shows and people being crowned or titled “champion,” “all-American,” “world’s greatest,” and so forth, all of us “runners-up” or “also-rans” can feel like losers.
Have you ever felt like a Plan B in a Plan A world? When you compare yourself with the multi-talented people in your circle of life, do you ever conclude that you must have been overlooked when God was distributing gifts and talents to His people? More people feel like that than you realize. Trust me, I have pastored hundreds of them over the years. Gosh, I’ve been one!
I want to share a passage with you that could very well be an antidote for an identity crisis or an affliction of low self-esteem: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
In this text Peter affirms that all those who belong to Christ are “chosen,” “royal,” “holy,” “God’s special possession,” and “people of God.” Take a moment and focus on each of these positive and profound descriptions. Chosen, not last but first; Royal, regal blood flows through your veins; Holy, consecrated and reserved for the Father’s use; God’s special possession, if God had a wallet your picture would probably be in it; People of God, a member of His forever family. In short, God — the only one whose opinion really counts — thinks highly of us, his people.
All of this is true, not because we are such wonderful people –– quite the opposite. We were far from God and, in fact, his enemies, completely and totally lost and in darkness. But because of the Lord’s grace and mercy, we have been declared forgiven, new, and good, and now we can walk in “his wonderful light.”
How do you feel about yourself? What defines your worth as an individual? Instead of comparing yourself to others or trying to match the world’s standards for beauty, significance, happiness, strength, and success, find your true identity in Christ. Rejoice in who he has made you, and “declare the praises” of your loving and merciful Lord.
You are not just little Miss/Mr. Nobody from nowhere, you are chosen and cherished — walk in the light of that truth, and make an impact for the King and His Kingdom.