We've been discussing the important role of understanding our identity in our current series "Identity Crisis" at church over the past weeks. I hope it's been helpful in pointing you to consider new ways of understanding your life, your purpose, your mission and your hope in Christ as your true identity.
One passage that I haven't been able to cover yet is a vital one in understanding who we REALLY are.
1 Peter 2:9 says that "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 and into his wonderful light."
Let's break down this passage quickly
1. Who called us? God did. We don't call ourselves, the maker of heaven and earth has called us...and He knows what He is doing.
2. Why did He call us? So that we may declare His praises. He called us for a purpose, to give Him glory...not our own glory, but His.
3. What does this mean? It means we have a new identity. We are no longer who we used to be, we are transformed into something else
Peter here uses a few powerful terms to explain our new identity. He says we are a chosen people; which is a term that used to only apply to the Jewish people going all the way back to God's covenant with Abraham. But now the people of God are not identified because of their ancestry, but by their faith in Jesus.
He calls us a royal priesthood, which used to apply to the Levites, a group of Jews who were set aside as the priests for Israel. But now all believers in Jesus are Priests and invited into the Holy of Holies to be where God Himself dwells.
And he calls us a Holy Nation. That word Holy is so important, it means set apart for a purpose, God's purpose.
That is who you are. Not because you are good or smart or useful; but because you are called by God to a Holy purpose. Believers in Jesus are given this new identity and mission. That is who you are.
My 5 year old loves to play with his little toys and use his imagination. This is normal and good for a little kid, but the unique thing is what he calls this time...he calls it "thinking." He will tell us, for example, that he wants to go to his room and think. It's cute and funny and makes people laugh; but I wonder if we shouldn't all be a bit more like him.
Would it be so bad if we all spent a little less time "doing" and bit more time "thinking" or even "praying." We seem so bent on action all the time and define our lives by how much we accomplish each day...but what if the measure of a life well lived isn't just how much you do; but how much time you spend with God or even alone with your dreams, thoughts and hopes.
Martin Luther once said, "I have so much to do today that I'm going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done." It's a fun quote, but rarely do any of us seem to see the need to follow this example. What if prayer (something you do that doesn't seem to have any immediate outcomes) actually allowed us to change the world in much more powerful ways because we are inviting God to be a part, or even better...allowing God to transform us so that we become a part of what He is up to. Our perceived in-action would actually be what makes us successful on a whole different scale than those who rush into life without taking time to think or pray first.
So I encourage you to think. I encourage you to pray. Find a place to do it (Jesus suggested a closet, but I find nature to be better for me). Find time to do it (block it out in your calendar if you have to). Take 5 minutes or an hour or a day if you can and do nothing other than think, dream and pray.
One of the best known Bible verses, due in large part to the classic "Birds" song "Turn, Turn, Turn" comes from Ecclesiastes 3 which says "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity." King Solomon then goes on to discuss all the "seasons" of life where we may find ourselves at different stages of life. A time for being born and to die, a time to plant and to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build....in all, he names 28 different "seasons" that may be necessary at times. Some of these seasons are fun and exciting; new birth, laughter, dancing, embracing, love and peace are all seasons that we likely wish would last a lifetime. But Solomon also says there will be seasons that we might rather avoid like death, tearing down, giving up, war and even hate. These seasons do, at times, come and are, at times, necessary.
My mantra is to make the most of the season you are in, or to say it another way to "live in the moment." Often we find ourselves yearning for a different season. The old may yearn for their younger days. The young may yearn for adult freedoms. The single may yearn for marriage. The frazzled mother may yearn for peace and quiet while the childless may yearn to hold a child of their own. But can we learn to be content in the season we are in, even if that season is hard or longer than we wish.
I am in a season of active kids in my home and I plan to make the most of it. I do, at times, get stressed about the messes they make or the constant demand for snacks they seem to have...but I love my boys and want to make the most of this season of life. I know that in just a few years they will grow up and leave home; and while they will still be my children, it will be different...so I plan to take full advantage of this season I have with them in my home.
What season are you in? How can you make the most of it? How can you learn to "live in the moment" and find all the joy you can in your present circumstance?
Over the past year I've likely said something about being "faithful" to you. My mantra through COVID, through the election and all the social upheaval was to be faithful to do the "next right thing" each day. I couldn't fix all the world's problems, but I could help each person I saw who needed help, preach each week the best I could (to a camera, on a wagon or back in the church) and work with others to make the best of a tough situation. I told anyone who would listen that God was faithful and I would seek to be faithful too.
But this year I told the church that we were trusting that since we have been faithful, God would help make us fruitful.
Well, in the past few weeks we have seen 4 of our youth get baptized at Camp, we had more than 20 kids make decisions to rededicate themselves or follow Jesus for the first time and this week we have 3 young people who are getting baptized! We are thrilled to see that God is blessing us with lots of spiritual steps and growth over the past few weeks and we praise Him for his faithfulness to us.
John 15:4 says "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me."
We will seek to remain in Jesus always and pray that he will use us to keep producing more fruit here at Six Points.