Choice, choosing and chosen.
These words are in Paul’s and Jesus’s vocabularies, and they could see where that was the word to describe what was and is.
Using it in the present tense – choosing – is quite straight-forward. It appeals to our western consumer way of looking at things, where we are used to people persuading us to do what they want by encouraging us to think it is what we want.
Choice is a little more touchy. We want choices to be fair, to be the same for everybody – and we especially don’t want to be excluded from choices, to feel we have missed out.
But chosen – that’s the tricky one. You see it makes you feel excluded or included – because it implies the choice has already been made. So it’s really no choice at all. It’s not fair – or at least not fair for me.
Especially if you apply it to salvation – and say it only comes to the chosen.
But this is how I square it. I don’t think it is mechanistic, like a great big lottery machine, where your number either comes up or not. Salvation does not depend on circumstance.
Jesus did explain to the people around him, those drawn to him, and those repelled, that their reaction to him was a perfect indicator on what their attitude to God is. Jesus passing by either lights up our salvation light, or it has us running for darkness. It can become a bit confusing by encountering religious folk though – some will have lives that speak of Jesus, others lives that speak only of religion. And the ‘chosen’ stuff only works with Jesus.
I think we choose, though sometimes we have not got to the point of having chosen. And it is circumstances that often bring to a head what is going on in our hearts, and makes it clear to us. Once that ‘choice’ is enacted, all has changed. We have become chosen. The new chosen life begins to take root, expecting space to grow.
A bit like a a marble run, if you are searching honestly for God, the encounter will happen as sure as the marble will get to the bottom, whatever route it takes.
It is available to anyone. Amy Carmichael’s book Mimosa is a beautiful portrait of someone who chose Jesus, never having heard of him, but reaching out to a God of love. She recognised her God as Jesus when he was taught to her. He’s the one I chose!
Let God in, and become chosen. There is no other way.