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By Joel Osteen - May 05, 2023

From the time I was a little boy, I loved playing basketball. When I was twelve years old, I walked to an outdoor court near my grandparents’ house where some older teens were playing. They were bigger, stronger, faster, and very competitive. When the game was over, the two best players started to pick new teams. I was the only stranger out of about fifteen of us hoping to get picked. One captain looked around at all these great players whom he knew, then he looked at me and said, “I choose that guy.” I nearly passed out. One of his friends said, “Are you kidding? He’s too small. You don’t even know if he can play.” Another said, “And he’s white,” meaning I couldn’t jump. By any measure, I didn’t deserve to be chosen, but for some reason he chose me. I’ll never forget how valuable, approved, and confident that made me feel.

That’s what God did for us. We didn’t deserve His love, His mercy, and His goodness, but the Scripture says, “While we were yet strangers, while we were far off, God brought us near through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Jesus says, “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). God handpicked you. Now, you may feel as I did at that park—you don’t fit in, you’re not good enough, you’re a stranger. None of that stops God. He still chooses you. Thoughts will tell you, “You’ve made too many mistakes. You’re not qualified. You don’t come from a background of faith.” God says, “That’s okay. You’re exactly whom I’m looking for. I choose people who don’t look like you’d expect, people who don’t perform perfectly, people with flaws and weaknesses.”

When Jesus chose His disciples, He didn’t go to the synagogue to find the candidates with the best credentials. He didn’t run an ad on ZipRecruiter to get the most qualified. He chose Peter, a hot-tempered fisherman who cursed people out. He chose Matthew, a despised tax collector who was known for being dishonest. What if Jesus would have hired a consulting firm to review His choices? “We’re sorry, but none of the twelve men You submitted are qualified to be disciples. Peter is given to fits of rage. Thomas has a doubting spirit that undermines morale. Matthew has integrity issues and is blacklisted by the Jerusalem Better Business Bureau.”

Jesus took all that into account and still chose them, just as He has chosen you. Get this down in your spirit: You’ve been chosen by the Creator of the universe. You belong to God’s family. He calls you a masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t let fear, insecurity, or guilt keep you from your greatness. Step up to who God created you to be.

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