You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, 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. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
What defines you? When you look into the mirror of your soul, what do you see?
Are you defined by your past?
If so, you’ll never live in the moment or see a future with hope that God has for you.
Are you defined by a hurt or experience that traumatized you?
If so, you’ll miss the joy that Jesus offers in spite of the pain.
Are you defined by shame or guilt for some failure that you can’t seem to overcome?
If so, you’ll miss experiencing the grace and forgiveness offered you in Christ.
Are you defined by the acceptance or significance you receive from others?
If so, you’ll yoyo up and down, seeking people’s approval, and miss the security and confidence of knowing that you are loved and accepted by God.
Peter dealt with some of these issues; he let the past define him until Jesus pictured a hope and a future for him on the Sea of Galilee shores. As a result of his restoration, Peter wrote a letter to people he identified with who also struggled with these issues. In 1 Peter 2, he redefines who we are as Christ followers – both then and today! Understanding and accepting who we are is huge if we are to grow in Christ, conquer old habits, and experience the abundant life Jesus came to offer. Peter speaks to those who are coming to Christ in verse 4. He says, anyone who trusts in (Jesus) will never be disgraced in verse 6. In other words, Peter is speaking to young Christ followers about the centrality of Christ in their lives, how that changes who they are, and what defines them now.
Then, he amplifies that definition with insight into how God sees us in Christ! Consider each phrase as you read it and say it out loud to yourself. Replace the you in each line with “I am…”
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, 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. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
One of the most damaging attacks of Satan in our lives today is identity theft. His mental games cause us to confuse lies of the world with truth. We define ourselves by those lies, and we live out our lives missing the blessing God designed us to experience. We strive for the acceptance He’s already given. We serve sincerely with the hope that God is pleased, but we do it in the energy of the flesh instead of the liberating power of the Holy Spirit. Soon, we find ourselves exhausted and burnt out, wondering what went wrong. Peter makes a simple point that’s so easy to miss. It is not Christ and you but Christ in you that should define you as a Christ follower. In Christ, we are a chosen people… we are a royal priesthood… we are a holy nation … we are a people who belong to God… we have been called out of darkness into His wonderful light! Once we had no identity as His people; but now (in Christ) we are God’s people! Once we had not received mercy, but now we have received God’s mercy!
Let those words define you in Christ! He is your life now! The greatest truth I know is that Jesus died for you that He may give His life to you so that, through His indwelling presence, He may live His life through you! Paul put it this way when he declared what defined him now as a Christian. “…. Not I, but Christ!” Invite Jesus to take up residence in your life today and give Him full control of everything!
You may have been hurt or failed miserably in the past, and you’re helpless to change what happened or make up for it. Others may have betrayed or even abandoned you, but you are not defined by any of those experiences. Take the pain and failure to Christ. He died for it all that you may live a new quality of life that knows no other definition but Christ in you!