God doesn’t pick anyone because they’re special

During the end of the year, people start talking about everything they’ve accomplished. I do it. Most people I know do it. And it’s really easy to hear about everything that’s going right for people and feel a little bit left out. Do you ever get that feeling? Like you haven’t done as much as you could have? Or that somehow God is doing more for someone else than you?

It’s okay to admit it. That’s a normal feeling. Not a true feeling but a normal one.

When you start looking at people and comparing yourself to them, it’s easy to start thinking that God loves someone else more than you, because all you’re looking at is them rather than God’s work in your own life. I take God’s work in my own life for granted. It can seem small and insignificant to me. And I begin to wonder why other people are so special that God would show up in their lives when He doesn’t in mine.

33E58C5499Today’s verses are Deuteronomy 7:7-9.

The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

The truth is, you aren’t that special. Sorry to break it to you. But God didn’t pick you (or me) out of a crowd because we had some special skill or unique talent. The only thing that makes us special is God’s work in our lives. It has nothing to do with us.

Sort of like Israel. It wasn’t even a country. It wasn’t even a family to start out with. It was just Abraham and his wife, and they weren’t even able to have children. But God made them a promise. And He kept it. And He’s still keeping it to this day. Israel wasn’t special. It was God who was special, who chose to do something miraculous. That’s how it works with us too.

Now don’t misunderstand. We are loved and unique and priceless. God made each of us, so by that token we are special, individually crafted by God Himself. So that by itself makes us special in comparison to the rest of creation, even in comparison to each other. But I don’t have anything that would make God love me more than someone else. Neither do you. We’re all poor and weak and powerless, and it’s God who comes along and gives us strength and success and victory.

God promises to be our salvation, our rock, our healer, our guide, our light. He promises that when we’re weak, we’ll be strong through His power. He promises that even in our darkest moments, He has a plan that He’s working out for our benefit. That’s not on us. That’s all on Him.

God doesn’t play favorites.

So don’t get into the habit of comparing yourself with other people. When the year-end accomplishment letters start coming in and the personal goals for the year grace your inbox, choose to rejoice with your friends instead of comparing yourself to them. Choose to marvel at God’s workmanship in people and realize that God is working in your life too. It just looks different than it does with other people.

God doesn’t pick anyone because they’re special. He picks people He can use. So if you want God to be visible in your life, if you want His blessings to be obvious, be the kind of person God can use. Be humble. Be honest. Be genuine. Trust Him. Follow Him. Honor Him. And if you’re doing all that, He’s probably more visible in your life than you think.

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God never promises you’ll be rewarded … in this life

I went to a book reading event last night. No, not for my own books. For someone else’s. It was more for my own education than anything else, since I didn’t know the author and hadn’t had a chance to read her books yet (even though I have them). I wanted to see how the event would work—how a professional company puts on a book release/signing event.

Well, I purchased my ticket ahead of time. A $10 job instead of the more expensive $17 one. The $17 ticket came with a copy of the book, which is number three in a trilogy. And I didn’t want to buy the book until I’d read the other two.

So I picked up my ticket and looked at it, and lo and behold! I had a $17 ticket! In very obvious words on my ticket (which I had only paid $10 for), was the permission to obtain a copy of the book! They’d given me the wrong ticket which actually gave me an upgrade. I could go to the event and get a copy of the book without paying full price!

And that’s when the little voice in my head started up.

It’s wrong. It’s unethical. It’s dishonest. And it goes against what God says is right.

So what did I do? Yep. I went back to the desk and told them they gave me the wrong ticket. And I wish I could tell you I was a good enough Christian to hope they’d let me have the book anyway, for outstanding moral fiber, if you will. That didn’t happen, of course. But they did thank me for being honest about it.

Little white flower against the gray stones at Carlisle Castle, Northern England

Little white flower against the gray stones at Carlisle Castle, Northern England

Today’s verses are Psalm 119:57-60.

Lord, you are mine!
I promise to obey your words!
With all my heart I want your blessings.
Be merciful as you promised.
I pondered the direction of my life,
and I turned to follow your laws.
I will hurry, without delay,
to obey your commands.

When you do the right thing in life, you won’t always get a reward for it right away, but God promises to bless you when you live life on His terms. He makes that promise over and over again. But just because He promises it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily see it in your lifetime.

Just saying.

There’s no scripture anywhere that says you’ll live to see the results of your good works or your investments. There’s no promise anywhere that says you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. But before you start to think that God’s a big stingy mean-hearted grouch in the sky, remember what He’s promised. And that He never breaks His promises. And that this life is only temporary.

Our life here isn’t supposed to be perfect and always right, where the good are always patted on the back and given things for the only reason that they are good. No, life on earth is broken. It’s falling apart and getting worse by the day. Actually in our culture now, wrong is rewarded. The people who break the law are exonerated. The people who hurt others get off Scott free. It actually feels like doing the wrong thing means you get punished, doesn’t it?

Well, when life starts feeling like that, remember where our home actually is, remember who God is, and remember what He’s promised. And His rewards are way better than anything earth can give.