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Holding on to Hope

Wednesday, May 12

Today's reading: 1 Peter 2:9-12

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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Yesterday's passage spoke about us being living stones in the building up of the body of Christ, the chief Cornerstone. Today is yet another reminder for us as believers. Just like Peter was addressing these new Christ followers in their day and circumstances, we too need reminding of who we are IN CHRIST! Let's rejoice in these truths because of Christ's gift of salvation to us.

We are:

a chosen race

a royal priesthood

a holy nation

a people of his own possession.

To put it simply, we BELONG to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. His unifying love binds us together and we have a common purpose. It's the very same purpose that was addressed by Peter to these scattered believers over 2000 years ago:

to proclaim the excellencies of him who called (us) out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This is another great hope-filled reminder: we have been pulled out of darkness! The hard question is, are we living in this way--out of darkness? Often we do not experience living hope of Christ because we are unwilling to let go of the things of darkness. Today, let's belong to God, fully.

Remember what Peter talked about earlier in this chapter: Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander (v. 2:1). I know this is easier said than done. Peter explains that there is a war raging within us concerning the passions of the flesh (v. 2:11). But with Christ's stronger Spirit living within us, we can be victorious in the wrestling of these fleshly pulls. Peter has already taught us that our souls are purified by our obedience to the truth (1:22). Just like the fiery furnace of different trials purifies us and makes us more like Christ, so does the deliberate choice of obedience to God's word. What of our flesh do we need to put away and then what with the working of his powerful Spirit do we need to do? Let's remember that is our good deeds that glorify God before evil doers (from v. 12). A simple prayer that I say often over myself and my loved ones is this:

"Lord give me (us) a strong desire to obey your word. Then by your Spirit help us to follow through!"

So ladies, let's lay down some things at the foot of the cross today where we will receive mercy. (Remember, because of Christ's shed blood, we are a holy nation!). And then let's put on our royal priestly robes as we go out into the world proclaiming truths about our King as well as spreading his love through our good deeds.

Dear Lord,

You are our living hope! Once (we) were not a people, but now (we) are God's people, once (we) had not received mercy, but now (we) have received mercy. We rejoice in your goodness to us. Help us, dear Father, to turn away from darkness and run to the lost world, enrobed with your marvelous light. We belong to you, and our purpose is to spread your hope through speaking truth, through showing love, and through practicing good deeds. Amen.