The other day I overheard a conversation between my 5-year-old grandson, Noah, and his Mama. Noah said, "Everett's mom says, 'Talk to me like I'm the queen!'" That's solid wisdom right there!
In our world of harsh and caustic words, it can be easy to internalize the words of others and allow them to shape our self-esteem. The apostle Peter offers us another option.
Writing to believers who were living in a caustic, anti-Christian environment, Peter wrote, " But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9).
Peter is writing to believers who were suffering persecution for their faith in Christ. Their suffering was intense. Peter encourages them to stand strong, not by defending themselves, but by remembering who they are and what they've been called to. In our present culture, we're not suffering much for Christ.
However, we live in a society that has now normalized very caustic and derogatory language. Our present culture has become very accepting of tearing others down through name-calling, bullying and demonizing others. Here's the thing: As believers, we are to have nothing to do with these practices. We also are not to retaliate when others hurl insults at us (1 Pet. 2:23). Living in a hostile culture, I believe it's more important than ever to remember who you are and what your calling is.
Remember Who You Are:
Chosen: As a follower of Jesus, you are chosen. God picked you! You may have never been chosen for any special honor, but Jesus Christ, the King of the universe, chose you for Himself. He set His affection on you (Deut. 7:7).
A royal priesthood: You are royalty, and you are a priest, called to show the world Christ's love. When others mistreat you, remember that you are royalty. Now to be clear, this doesn't give you a free pass on self-awareness. Be aware of how you are coming across to others. Sometimes, though, people will simply mistreat you. Self-shaming and self-doubting thoughts may torment your mind. Remember, you are a royal priest. Don't retaliate; demonstrate Christ's love instead.
A holy nation: This doesn't mean your nation is chosen by God. It means you are a part of the people of God worldwide. In the past five years, Steve and I have traveled to many different nations. It has been such a joy to meet our sisters and brothers in Christ living around the world. Our camaraderie is that we all follow one Savior, Jesus Christ. It goes way beyond a single nation. In the Old Covenant, Israel was God's chosen nation. Now, however, in the New Covenant, the body of Christ worldwide is the holy nation.
A special possession of God: Friend, don't let others decide your identity. You are a special, cherished treasure belonging to the most high God. You are chosen, loved, forgiven, empowered and pursued by God Almighty. It doesn't get any better than that!
Remember Your Calling
What is your calling? To live a life of praise and thanksgiving, and to show the world Christ's love. Peter reminded us that we are to continually "declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9b). When it feels like the world is closing in on you—when others are mistreating you or hurling insults at you—remember who you are and what you're called to. We follow King Jesus. He is our Lord and Savior. Though we don't enjoy it, it is a privilege to suffer for Him. Seek to encourage and strengthen others in their journey.
Friend, the culture we're living in may be caustic, but this is nothing new in the life of the believer. Those who have gone before us have experienced similar cultures. Remember who you are and what your calling is. Stay focused on Christ and live for Him. He's got you and won't let you go!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is Psalms for the Anxious Heart. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world. Connect with Becky at beckyharling.com, Facebook or Twitter.
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