Definition, noun: the exact meaning of
As humans, we have always struggled with definition- our meaning. All the way back to the Israelites in the wilderness, we see God’s people struggling with this, as they cast God aside and call for Aaron to make them an idol, and again, as the ten spies say “No! We, God’s chosen people, cannot take this land!” As Christians in the 21st century, we are in a day-to-day war for our definition as God’s people. Battles spring up each minute, and it is our choice whose side we shall fight on- God’s, or Satan’s. “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 darkness into his marvelous light.” 1st Peter 2:9
I suggest you get out your Bible, as there is not enough room to type out each verse referenced. In this verse, we see a frequently quoted passage and are often tempted to skip over it. However, when you look closely at it, you can see so much goodness in it that sometimes it can be hard to believe that, yes, this is talking about YOU. “But you are…” The book of 1st Peter was written to “those who are elect exiles…” (1 Pet. 1:1) Are we exiles from the world? We must live in it, but are we living AS it, as one with the world? Our answer should be no, we are not living as those around us, rather, we are striving to live as Christ. It’s your choice, it’s my choice- but it is something that should be considered. “…a chosen race,” Chosen- by God, and by Christ – John 15:16. “…a royal priesthood…” Royal- we are children of the King – Romans 8:15-17. “…a holy nation…” Nation- we are united as one body, the church – 1 Corinthians 12:12-20. “…a people for his own possession,” His own possession- We are to live as Him, for Him – Philippians 1:21, Romans 14:8.
We have examined our definition- as a chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, and as a people for His own possession. But is that how we truly live? We are in a war for our souls, and our enemy has been in this war for thousands of years- he knows the tactics, and his arrows are just as sharp as ever. He knows that, as humans, we are prone to doubt. It was his first tactic- “Did God ACTUALLY say…” bringing doubt, which once planted, made eating the fruit and “becoming like God” very appealing to man. Satan assured them by saying “You WILL NOT surely die.” God has given us truth after truth after truth- you are my people. Yet will we reject His truths because Satan convinces us to doubt the authority of the Word, or laughs in our ear, saying “Ha! You aren’t one of God’s people! You’re just a sinner- give up the charade, kid.”? Or, perhaps, it’s not so blatant. Perhaps, it is a quiet sort of take over. Perhaps it is finding your worth somewhere, anywhere, besides God. “What? Never!” you say. But let me ask you this- how often is the first thing someone knows about you that you are a Christian, and how often is it that you are “so-and-so’s daughter/sister/friend”? Is it that you are kind, and loving, or is it that you play sports? How much do you let Christ permeate your life? He doesn’t want to be a side-show, he wants to be the main attraction.
We know we have been called- we know we are His- but why has He called us? “…that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We should be honored, and awed, at this calling. Yet so often we seem to skip the second half of this verse! We have been called to proclaim Christ- are we doing so? What do your actions say? Your words, your dress, your friendships, and other relationships? Are your conversations focused around the latest event you have been invited to, or the recent baptism in a local congregation? Are your clothes saying “Look at me!” or “look at Him, look at His excellencies”? We must examine ourselves- we have a calling, are we fulfilling it? Galatians 5 is speaking of freedom from the old law, and verse 13 states “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” We have been freed as well, having been called out of darkness. Are we using that freedom to proclaim His excellencies, or to boast in ourselves?
We have been given the honored position of proclaiming the excellencies of God, yet… are we treating it as if it is an honor? My job is to be a herald, to share the goodness of God, yet, am I honoring that position with my actions? I am awed that He would give this position to man- sinful, arrogant, imperfect man. But we know what the darkness away from Him is like, and we have been called into HIS light- we’ve seen the contrast. We know the other side of the coin. We must proclaim, it is why we were chosen. To be His, and to proclaim Him.
So, what is our definition? Where is yours found?
By Hannah Lowe