God sent Emmanuel—”God with us,” His only begotten Son—to be with us when we deserved to be alone because of our sin. Emmanuel is God’s greatest expression of acceptance. When you truly realize who Emmanuel is, you see that this is the gift of God saying to us “I accept you even though I should be rejecting you.”
We are all born into sin and rejected because of iniquity. God doesn’t desire for us to be merely saved from our sin, but to be free from our sin. There are many saved people who are far from free. God wants us to receive His great gift and understand that this gift overrides and overcomes any sort of rejection.
Rejection is a dangerous cycle. When you allow rejection to keep you, it doesn’t just stay in your heart, it takes you somewhere. Rejection pushes you to a place where God is not; it causes you to become what you were never meant to be.
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” —Genesis 4:7
I am the youngest of five kids; when I was born my mother was 36 and my father was 46. I was spoiled rotten, very loved—I had everything. My mother, a schoolteacher, was always very blunt. If you asked her something, you knew you would get nothing but straight-up honesty. One day I asked my mom, “Mom, did you know I was coming?” She answered, “No, you were a mistake.” Now, if you knew my mom, you’d know that she didn’t mean this to hurt me, she was simply answering my question with an honest, unvarnished answer. This is the only time that she ever said this to me but she only had to say it once. Immediately I began to look for evidence that I was a mistake.
I know that this belief wasn’t correct, but it is how I felt and this belief began to take me on a cycle of rejection. When rejection comes, it’s followed by bitterness, which is aged by anger. When you become bitter, it’s really hard to let it go; you don’t want to let it go because it becomes a sort of comfort to you. But bitterness grows and becomes hatred—the overpowering desire of disdain. You know you are a hater if you never have anything good to say when something good comes. In a state of hatred, you are unable to bless others.
I see many athletes living in this state—they may have everything in the world that they desire, but if they don’t have Emmanuel, they haven’t accepted a true and good gift.
“He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” —Ephesians 1:4-7
God doesn’t reject people, He rejects sin. He doesn’t want this cycle to control you, instead He wants us to rule over it, overcoming its power by understanding and believing that God chose us before we were ever rejected by anything.
Emmanuel is the gift that money can’t buy.
—Pastor Ted Winsley, chaplain of the Philadelphia Eagles
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