LONG SHOTS AND THE BAD BETS.
THE LONG SHOTS AND THE BAD BETS.
I’ve always been a long-shot. For most of my life I have tried to be a leader and the Hero of my story but for the most part, I always felt like I might be the guy who was the last one to be picked on the playground so I would always seek to promote my own character or abilities. I was a man with many gifting’s but trapped like a prisoner in my own self fashioned perspectives of self. Spiritual pride first puffed me up, then it subtly lied to me, and then it left me spiritually bankrupt. I had become stuck there in my own story, un-touchable, un-reachable by the walls that I had erected through spiritual prowess, while devoid of an understanding of my own depravity and need for Jesus to be the Lord of all in my story. I had become a Villain!
What could the Lord possibly do with a man like that? As someone who had become so centered on themselves, I had lost hope, living in fear of the exposure that would ensue if the depth of my depravity were discovered. I was now convinced that I was alone and that everything that I had strived for would soon be lost. There on the edge of my bed, influenced by lies, depression and medication for chronic pain, I had decided that it wasn’t worth it so, with a gun in my hand and in what could have been the last few minutes of my story, I cried out… “Why can’t You pick me for once?”
I will never forget the immediate answer — “I did.” “What are you waiting for?” As if being awakened from a childhood dream of playing Red-Rover on the playground, it was if the Lord was standing directly across from me yelling “Send Johnny on over!” Motioning me to run with everything I could muster, I sat my pistol in the dirt of that playground story and dream, but I had no strength to move or stand beyond that. When I looked up, the Heavenly Father had ran across that gap with open arms and with a warm embrace that instantly brought justification. Not self-justification but His Justification. He had not only elected to have me but He had come the full distance that was seemingly so impossible for me to make and was inadequate to travel. He did a work at my core that day and I have not been the same since!
Pick Me, pick Me!!!
1 Peter 1:2…
…Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…
To often we worry more about being the Elect of the people around us than we do being the Elect of God. We perpetually strive for the “People's Choice Award” rather than resting in the knowledge that we are already chosen as God’s glorified one’s! You see, because God elected us before the world began, He sees us as already glorified. People often look at us and they say, “Glorified? Them?” The Father, however, knows better than those around you!
Suppose you could suddenly travel back in time and you wind up in a place where you realize that you haven’t made any of the mistakes of your past yet. There you are and nobody has seen you mess up or make the mistakes that will eventually become part of your story. So, you think to yourself; “Hey, my approval rating is much better now with folks than it will ever be in the future. So with the new found members of your incredible posse and a new approval rating, you find a bookie, and against unbelievably high odds, and even the marvelous expectations that your peeps have for you in life, you place a bet that you are going to have some major shortcomings and that you will fail along the way. Or, maybe you bet against yourself, that you’re going to get beat in some way. Now stay with me!Because, you would walk away rich from your winnings because you would have made these bets with foreknowledge. You would have put your money down not as a gamble, but with certainty because you would have known the outcome despite the fact that you failed, despite the fact that it looked like a bad bet!
Here is the kicker! You see, the Father knows a good bet even before it looks like a bad bet. He sees the end from the beginning. He understands what no other person can comprehend. He knows we are going to struggle and mess up but He also knows that we’re going to make it. As bad a bet as we might seem to ourselves or to others, as steep as the odds against us may be, He calls us already glorified. Therefore, we can approach Him boldly. We can enjoy Him intimately. We can ask of Him expectantly because we have been elected eternally.
Our Father takes an incredible chance on us even when people don’t, even when other christians, family, friends and the crowd around us won’t. Quit seeing yourselves as the good bet, gone bad and start seeing yourself as the bad bet, gone good!
So what, if you are a long shot! The word of God is chucked full of stories about the Long-Shot. Jesus Himself was viewed by His own disciples as a long-shot. This next part of A Rogue Story takes a brief look at the bad bets, the long-shot, and the real characters, who were all heroes and villains alike!
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John is Pastor at The Redeemed Adventure Project and Author of various Adventure Journals, Fireside Challenges, and Blogs excerpts from books he written over the last 12 years.