Last night as our Bible Study group sat on my patio, the friend next to me started chuckling and said, “Wow, we are definitely in our thirties, aren’t we? We look like it and even our mannerisms give it away.” It made me laugh because it is just so very true. Because we are in our thirties, there are some things that we are not: We are not on Tik-Toc, we are not able to do simple tasks without the threat of throwing out our backs, and we are not awake after 9pm voluntarily. We just aren’t.
Honestly though, there is a sweet sense of freedom in knowing and embracing who we are. It’s when we forget and try to act like we are 24 again that things don’t go well for us (trying to lift the same amount of weight we did in high school *ahem* my husband *ahem*, for example). This is one reason I love First Peter. He reminds his audience of who they are and who they are not. Don’t we all need that sometimes?
Peter addresses his first letter to “God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” (I Peter 1:1) Without knowing much else, we can glean that these Christians were not living in a small Christian-only town where everyone loved Jesus, there was no push back against their beliefs, and life was basically a Truman Show episode without the, you know, creepy spying and being on tv without consent thing. In fact, as you continue reading Peter’s letter, you learn that they were facing many trials as they lived as foreigners. For example, in chapter 1, verse 6, he writes, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.” (emphasis mine)
Let’s face it, seems like that could have been written to us in 2020, amirite?
Peter continues in chapter two by talking about those who have rejected Jesus and says that “they stumble because they do not obey God’s word.” (v 8) But then, a shift is felt as he begins describing the faithful friends that he is writing to; the ones who know and love Jesus:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
(I Peter 2:9-10 NLT, emphasis mine)
BUT YOU ARE NOT LIKE THAT
Don’t you just love this? Peter does an about face and declares you are not like the people who stumble because of their disbelief. You, sweet sister in Christ, are not like those who face life with all of its ups and downs and stumble for lack of knowing and obeying Jesus. That is not your identity. Oh sure, we will at times muddle our way through this faith journey, but it will not be aimless because we are ultimately rooted in Jesus. Our identity is as:
a chosen people
royal priests and a holy nation (sons and daughters of the KING)
God’s very own possession
those called out of darkness
those who have received an identity as God’s people
those who have received mercy
Regardless of how we feel (and trust me sister, I’ve BEEN THERE these past few months), Jesus is crazy about us and our identity is in Him and because of Him. Let that truth give you a renewed hope, a refreshed soul, and strengthen your resolve as you face whatever may come this week (and the rest of this #yearthatshallnotbenamed). Love to you!