Identity: chosen by God

February 13, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

You likely know what it’s like for an athlete to wonder if he or she will be chosen—whether because you’ve been there yourself or because you’ve coached athletes in this position. As an athlete, you may face the uncertainty of whether you will be chosen to be a member of the team or chosen to be a starter. Especially when the tryout is filled with hopefuls or the competition for a starting role is stiff, finding out that the coach chose you is a thrill. When you are chosen, it changes how you view yourself.

This is also true on a far more significant level. Being chosen is a core dimension of our identity as followers of Christ. When we understand this, it changes how we view ourselves. And it changes how we approach the various areas of our life, including coaching. 

The goal of this series of devotions is to help us embrace who we are in Christ and resist the temptation to look for our identity in sports and coaching. Understanding our true identity as followers of Jesus gives us a right perspective on and approach to coaching. So far we’ve seen that when we respond in faith to Christ, we are a new creation and a child of God. A third aspect of our identity is this: we are chosen by God.

We see this in multiple places in the Bible. Here are a few instances: In John 15:16, Jesus declares, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…” The Apostle Paul proclaims in Ephesians 1:4, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” He also says in Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

So much could be gleaned from these verses. Here are just three observations about our identity as “chosen by God”—and what this means for our approach to coaching: 

1. We are chosen by God’s grace, not because of our merit.

In sports, you earn your spot on the team or in the starting lineup. The opposite is true for our inclusion on Team Jesus. If it were up to our merit, none of us would make it because “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). Instead, we’re chosen “in Christ” (Eph. 1:4)—that is, based on Christ’s merit: his sinless life and his sacrificial death on the cross for our sin. Rather than being rejected like we deserve, God graciously chooses us. Knowing this compels us to be humble. How we live and how we coach is saturated with humility and grace when we understand who we are as those chosen by God.

2. We are chosen to be recipients of God’s incredible love.

In Ephesians 1:4 and Colossians 3:12, Paul makes clear that God chooses to make us the objects of his great love. In fact, he determines to do this “before he made the world” (Eph. 1:4), emphasizing again that his choice to love us is not because of anything we’ve done. Knowing we are loved by God in this way compels us to be grateful. Out of gratitude for being unconditionally loved by God, we seek to love those around us well—including those we coach—even when it seems like they don’t deserve it. 

3. We are chosen to live out God’s purposes.

Just as being chosen for a sports team gives us purpose (do all we can to help the team succeed), being chosen by God for Team Jesus fills us with purpose. Christ says that he chose us “to go and produce lasting fruit.” In both verses from Paul, we’re told that we’re chosen to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart: set apart for the Lord to reflect his character (rather than being like those who are not following Christ) and to pursue his purposes (rather than going after lesser things). Knowing this compels us to be intentional. We are intentional about living and coaching for Christ, desiring that he be seen and experienced through the way we speak, act, and interact with others. 

Coach, when you respond in faith to Jesus, your identity is defined by this: chosen by God. Let this truth of who you are shape every dimension of your life. Live and coach with humility and with gratitude to the Lord for his incredible love. Intentionally pursue God’s purposes, seeking to glorify Christ in all things.

For reflection: As your identity as “chosen by God” defines you, what would change in your perspective on or approach to coaching? Talk with the Lord about this. Ask him to enable you to live for him with humility, gratitude, and intentionality.



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