It's our first link-up for GMG's study of the book of Ephesians. So far, this week we have studied Ephesians 1:1-10. It has been a rather rich piece of Word to chew on and right from the beginning I felt I knew what God wanted to show me in these first few verses.
I have struggled with my self-image all my life...I have never felt good enough in many areas, looks, weight, social skills..perhaps too many if I really dig deep. I have also been timid...afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone, happy to be a little fish swimming in other people's ponds.
This year I feel God calling me to open up more, let go of the things that keep me curled up and reserved. Here's what the Lord showed me these past few days in the Word and at Mass.
Ephesians 1:4 "Thus he chose us in Christ, before the world was made, to be holy and faultless before him in love"
Ephesians 1:5 "marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ."
We are chosen!
When God instructed Samuel to anoint His chosen one out of the sons of Jesse, Samuel looked at their outward appearances. As each one was brought before him, he thought that because of their strength and size God would choose that particular son. God, however, as we all know, does not look at the outward appearance but at the heart. God chose, instead, David the youngest son, who was delegated the lowly task of watching the sheep. David was anointed by God's Holy Spirit...David who in the eyes of his brothers and, perhaps others, was weak, puny and unworthy.
Ahh...but David had skills! While all alone minding the sheep, David learned how to defend those sheep against wild animals and we all know the story of what happens when he, a "90 pound weakling", challenged Goliath. This is one of my five year old daughter's favourite bible stories. Imagine Goliath, this arrogant giant, looking down upon this "little boy" and saying to him that he would feed his flesh to the birds and wild animals and David, bold with his anointing, defending his God and his people. He put his absolute trust in God saying to the giant, "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands...and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel" 1 Samuel 17:46, and a slingshot flew and a giant fell and by his own sword Goliath lost his life. David's God triumphed and the Philistine army retreated.
A huge and courageous heart in the body of a "little boy". A boy to whom God gave the strength to kill wild animals to save his sheep and the strength to kill a giant! The picture above seems to have a deeper significance with the boy David risking his life to protect the lamb. In the New Testament it is the Lamb of God who dies to save us.
Have you seen the move "Captain America"? What I love about this movie is that the "90 pound weakling" has a heart full of courage and honour and such a love for his country and friends that he would lay down his life for them. Sound familiar?
Imagine that we are all "90 pound weaklings". WE ARE...until we go through that 'magic machine' that is the anointing of God's Holy Spirit, then we are empowered and transformed. It doesn't matter what we look like on the outside...on the inside we are bold, strong, capable...like David, like Captain America.
We are chosen! We are His anointed. Do we merit this? No, neither did David. He disappointed God and fell from grace, but God forgave him from the depths of His limitless mercy. Ephesians 1:7-8 "in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace which he has showered on us in all wisdom and insight." David remained God's Chosen, His anointed. God chose David's lineage to bring about the incarnation of Jesus...despite his having fallen in the past.
So it is with us...we do not merit His multitude of graces, but we are chosen and anointed. By Jesus' blood sacrifice we are free...free of the bondage of sin, free to enter Heaven. What an awesome gift! What a great and mighty God we serve!
So the next time I look in the mirror and feel disappointed, or feel like a failure because I don't think I measure up in some way...I hope I will remember this story of David and the similarities of Captain America. On the inside I can defeat a giant, on the inside I am and will continue to strive to be who God wants me to be because I am chosen and anointed.
I pray, oh Father, that you will help us all to rid ourselves of our insecurities to see ourselves as chosen and anointed. I pray that you will help us to live lives that are pleasing to you, that we will , by our living show that we are your chosen and anointed ones.
May we all shine brightly with the light of Christ and may that light shine in all the dark places so all may come to know Him.