“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not recieved mercy, but now you have recieved mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
Let me bring you into my inner circle for a moment and share a secret: I don’t think very well of myself sometimes. I am haunted by the feeling of being a complete and utter failure in life and I don’t very easily see the good that’s going on right away. I see the good in other people all the time! I just don’t extend that vision and grace to the person I see staring back in the mirror. It’s something I’ve been praying about fervently for the past several months and something which God has miraculously answered!
We all find arrogant people challenging to be around but I think that part of arrogance is a self-assurance that most of us don’t have and so maybe the reason we find it annoying is because we can’t relate. The self-image of someone arrogant is that they are fantastic and right and awesome and it just manifests itself in behaviors that make some of us repel. I think I’m in opposite of arrogant but in a bad way. I know, it is usually that the opposite of arrogant is humble and how can that be bad, right? Well I think sometimes humble has behind it a sense of inadequacy and judgement that we need to correct. Or at least I need to correct.
In 1 Peter chapter 2, my favorite disciple is telling the reader to understand and embrace who they are now that they are believers of Jesus. In the first few verses he’s telling people to put away the negative attributes of self and seek after a life that is nourished by “spiritual milk”, God’s Word, so that they grow in their faith. He then goes on to call the reader a “living stone” and then “chosen and precious”. That’s amazing! Peter, who is this super-real person in the scriptures, one who makes some pretty decent mistakes, is telling us all that we are CHOSEN and PRECIOUS! And it’s not him just saying those beautiful words but the God of the universe feels this way about us!! GOD CHOSE US AND WE ARE PRECIOUS! Say it like this right now, “God chose (your name) and I am precious.” Do I sin? Yes. Do I struggle against my human nature? Yes. Am I forgiven? Yes. Am I chosen and precious? YES! YES! YES!
In verses 9-10 Peter further defines who we are as believers. Royal Priesthood. Holy Nation. God’s possession. A people. Receivers of mercy. If God sees me as all of these amazing things, and He knows every single fiber of my being and not only that, but He knit me together, how can I ever feel that I am anything but blessed and lovely in His sight? To think so little of myself that I am a failure and not worth anything really just flies in the face of what God is telling me in His Word. And based on His feelings toward me, my response is also called out by Peter in that I am to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” If I’m only looking inward at my flaws and my past then it’s like taking a flashlight and putting it against my stomach. It does no good whatsoever because the light is blocked completely. Only when I accept my calling to a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a possession of God, a reciever of mercy can I turn the flashlight around and shine His light on the people around me who are still in the darkness.
If you’ve asked for forgiveness and truly repented of your sin, then remind yourself that God has made you, “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Not beige, not brown, not muddy…white! Don’t let the past take away the light that God has called you to be. Move the flashlight away from pointing inward and point it out so that others can see the remarkable work God is doing in your life and be drawn to His light. Proclaim his excellencies don’t recite your failures. If you find this challenging, let me know and I’ll pray for you and I’ll also share the verses I pray through to get my light shining brighter.
Father God, thank you that You love us and that You chose us to be Your possession. A possession has no choice but to do what the owner wants and what it was created to do so help us proclaim You and shine Your light as we were intended from the beginning. Don’t let us get in the way by dwelling on the past. Draw us to repentance and forgiveness and help us truly accept Your amazing forgiveness. Love us more when we can’t love ourselves and bring us into Your light. Amen.
Love. Grace. Peace. Mercy.