It can be very difficult to know where your value comes from as a human being. It can be even more difficult to know how that value applies to how you should live your life. One of the great things about following Jesus is that there is clarity about who we are, why we are valued, and what that means for how we live our lives.
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. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12
This passage reminds us that when we follow Jesus, we belong to him and that we are set apart for a purpose. We are citizens in a kingdom of His design with rules that are vastly different from the world’s rules. Each of us is called out of darkness into light and given a new identity in Jesus. We are God’s people who are now exiles and foreigners in the world we live in. However, we are not left without a home. Our home is in God’s kingdom. We get to taste a little bit of that as His kingdom breaks into this world and into our lives, but we will get the fullness of it when Jesus returns or when we pass from this life into His presence forever.
As we await our homecoming, we are called to abstain from sin, to declare praise to God, and to live holy lives that honor God so that others might do likewise. It isn’t an easy path to walk. Jesus never said it would be. But, when we follow Him, we can rest assured that we belong to Him. We are His people. We are set apart and we have a purpose. We have a home.
When we let our identity rest in anything else, we will be disappointed. Our careers, our families, our fame, our fortune, our friends, our ministry, and our church families will all let us down at some point in time. They will fail us and we will fail them. When that happens it can lead to a serious crisis of identity if our faith isn’t rooted properly in Jesus. We will wonder who we are and what we are supposed to do. When we follow Jesus, we never have to wonder who we are or what our purpose is. We will always be His and always have a purpose. It might be a hard path to follow. It may be difficult to remember where our true home is. It might be difficult to see the light in dark times, but we can be certain Jesus is there and we are His.
May we all let our identity rest in Jesus and follow Him where he leads us. Let us all seek to see the kingdom of God break through in the dark moments of life. Let us seek to abstain from sin, to give glory to God, and to live well to honor Him. May others taste and see that God is good because of how they see us live out our identity in Jesus.
Questions for reflection:
- Where is your identity rooted? What are you trusting in to get you through difficult circumstances?
- Are you actively seeking ways to live out your faith and calling?
- What areas of your life do you see the kingdom of God breaking in? Are you praising God when you see it happening?