Jim Wood, of Wears Valley Ranch in Tennessee and a former student of mine from Gordon College days, spoke at our monthly Chapel men’s breakfast from Colossians 3:13. It struck me that his message was extremely relevant to a couple of friends who have been struggling with feelings of failure in their lives. Both are men in their fifties who feel that they have not fulfilled their potential. St. Paul reminds us that we should not evaluate ourselves from the perspective of the material world which measures significance and success in finite terms by comparing ourselves with others. He identifies us from three Gospel perspectives.

First, we are chosen: not for our own merit or accomplishments but by grace. God chose the weak in this world so that we should not boast. Christ chose us before the foundation of the world to fulfill his purpose through our lives. We are chosen, not self-selected, to serve on Christ’s team. We should be grateful for the honor.

Second, we are holy, that is dedicated to God’s use. We are set aside to do God’s will. We are vessels of the Holy Spirit, gifted by the Spirit, to produce the fruit of the Spirit. We are destined to be changed from one degree of glory to another by the Spirit in order to be fit for the Master’s use. We are part of a holy people, a holy priesthood, a people for his own possession who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Third, we are beloved by the Father. He values us and makes us worthy to stand before him and serve him. He loves us so much that Christ gave his life for us to redeem us. He loves us so much that he has come to live in us and through us. He loves us so much that nothing will snatch us from his hand. He is there for us always. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. If this is so then we should never wallow in discouragement, or fear of failure, or the accusation of an inferiority complex. Instead we should give thanks for all that God has done for us and will do through us as he prepares us for eternity. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.