I recently took a quiz on playbuzz to figure out which high school stereotype I fit into and it labeled me as a Jock. Here is the description in assigned to me:

You’re every girl’s crush and every boy wants to crush your head. Obviously, you’re famous, handsome and what else? You’re the male version of a queen bee, every boy’s dream is to be like you. You play all sorts of sports like basketball, soccer etc.

This did not describe me at all in high school! I was afro kid who had a crush on all the girls. The guys did not want to be me and most of the girls did not want to date me. When I did play a sport, I rode the bench all season. If I listed other high school stereotypes, my guess is you would be able to describe them in great detail and maybe even list names of people you know who fit in to each category. Let’s try:

  • Cheerleader
  • Mean girl
  • Emo kid
  • Bible thumper
  • Storyteller
  • Gamer
  • That art girl
  • Druggie

When you listed attributes of each stereotype, my guess is that much of what you described was negative. It was negative as I thought about each one. Even in our stereotypes, we like to point out much of the negative. Why is that? Could it be that there is something undesirable about every single person? My guess is that when we even look at ourselves, we find something that is undesirable. My question, then, is: If we all have something about us that is undesirable,

  • Maybe we are just a little big
  • Maybe we are a little judgmental
  • Maybe our teeth are perfect
  • Maybe we are sometimes bullies
  • Maybe we don’t feel beautiful enough or strong enough.

…why would God, who is absolutely perfect, even think to pay attention to us? Why would He love us or care for us?

“For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.

“The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him. So keep the command — the statutes and ordinances — that I am giving you to follow today.”[1]

God chooses

Here are some facts about the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people:

  • Israel was the least among all nations
  • The people were slaves who were not bold enough to stand up for themselves
  • Israel constantly worshipped idols
  • They worshipped with pagans
  • They rejected God’s Law and promises over and over again.

These are true not only for the first generation, who died in the wilderness, but also the second generation. We can read about them in the book of Joshua. Israel was not worthy of God’s love and they were not worthy of God choosing them. Here is my question for us as we think about our own lives: Are we worthy of God’s love?

Here’s what I notice about myself:

  • I am the least among people.
  • I am a little over-weight.
  • I am not a strong as the next guy.
  • I’m not the best looking.
  • I am sometimes guilty of worshipping idols. For me it’s knowledge or power, maybe even acceptance. For some: it’s work, school, relationships, pornography, pleasure, money, or even church.
  • Sometimes I value myself too much as an American and not enough as a child of God.
  • Sometimes I defend my own actions, even when God has given a law against whatever it is.
  • Sometimes I don’t take advantage of opportunities God has given me.

If we are to be honest, most of us have to admit that we are not the sort of people we would expect God to love or even choose. We are law breakers when it comes to God’s great standard. Why would God love us, when we are so insignificant?

God makes this statement to the people of Israel: “The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers…” (v. 7-8).

God does not love us because of the people that we are. He loves us as we are, because of who He is. God does not love us or choose us based on our work or our deeds or our keeping of the Law. He chooses us because He loves us and His love is based entirely in His own nature. There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less. This is what we mean when we say that God’s love toward us is absolutely unconditional.

We respond

This kind of love draws a response from us. We read that God will not hesitate to pay back those who hate Him, so keep His commands and His statutes and ordinances. Here we see that our love for God directly relates to our obedience toward God. If we love God, we will strive to obey Him (Jesus even states this in John 14:15). Those who do not strive to obey God, do not love Him as they might claim to love Him, and those who hate God will be repaid for that hate. If you are wondering whether or not you are living in love with God, all you have to do is examine your life and see if you are striving to live in obedience to God. When we think about worship, we usually think about singing. This is a form of worship, but worship literally begins with our obedience to God every day.

If you don’t know God or you haven’t been living in love with God, there is great news. God does not love us because of who we are, He loves us as we are because of who He is. It’s never to late, as long as we live, to respond to God’s love and to live as a person chosen by God. This is only possible through Jesus. God’s promise to Israel was that the messiah would come through them. Jesus Christ was born into David’s family line, lived without sin, and suffered the consequences of sin so that our debt could be paid. If you don’t know Christ, His arms are open to you. He is ready for you. The best part is, His love for you doesn’t depend on how good of a person you are. You don’t have to get your life right to know Christ. In fact, Christ is the only way our lives can become worthwhile and the only way we can truly be transformed.

This being said, I only have one more question. If God loves and cares for us this much even when we fall so short, what does this say about how we should love and care for one another?

[1] Deuteronomy 7:6-11 (HCSB)

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