Identity: treasured by God

February 21, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I had the impression that the coach of my team at a summer basketball camp didn’t like me very much. I was certainly not the most skilled player on the team. I tried hard and didn’t make trouble, but many of my teammates were better basketball players than me. It seemed as if the coach really liked these more talented teammates. Whether accurate or not, however, I felt like he just tolerated me.

We might be tempted to wonder if God’s perspective toward us is similar to my summer camp coach. Since we mess up and fall short of his design for our lives, does God just kind of put up with us? Maybe we’ve placed our faith in Jesus and desire to follow him, but when we compare ourselves to others, we feel spiritually inferior. Does God merely tolerate people like us?

The amazing truth made clear in the Bible is this: God doesn’t just tolerate us. As followers of Christ, we are treasured by the Lord.

In this series of devotions, we’re exploring who we are as those united to Jesus through faith. Understanding our true identity as followers of Christ is essential for all of life, including having a right perspective on and approach to coaching. So far we’ve seen that in Christ we are a new creation, a child of God, and chosen by God. Another core dimension of our identity is that we are treasured by God.

One of the overarching narratives of the Old Testament is God’s purpose in choosing to make the Israelites his people. Through Israel, God would offer people of every nation the chance to experience the blessing of the salvation and life he alone gives. In the New Testament, we see that God fulfills this purpose through is Son Jesus, the true and perfect Israelite. All who turn in faith to Jesus are now part of God’s people. What was God’s design for Israel in the OT is now true of our identity as followers of Christ: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). We are God’s special possession, treasured by him as those he chose to be his very own.

In Psalm 17:8, David prays, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” When we are united by faith to Jesus, the descendent of David, this is now true of us: we are God’s people, the apple of his eye. This idiom powerfully expresses how precious we are to God. He cherishes us and protects us as those he treasures.

The promise given to Israel in Zephaniah 3:17 is now for us as his people in Christ: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Our loving and gracious God saves us through Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins and his victorious resurrection. The Lord now takes great delight in us and rejoices over us!

All of this is true of us not because we are spiritually superior or skilled. We are not. Our welcome into God’s family is based completely on what Jesus has done for us. When we surrender in faith to Jesus, however, God doesn’t merely tolerate us as “lesser” members of his team. He deeply loves us and treasures us.

This is what’s true of your identity, Coach, as a follower of Christ: you are treasured by God. Live and coach with the joy and confidence of knowing how the Lord views you.

For reflection: As your identity as “treasured 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 the joy and confidence of knowing his delight in you.



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