This Week’s Reading: 1 Peter 1
I sometimes throw myself pity parties.
I go through phases when I feel extremely insecure in all aspects; I convince myself I’m an annoyance, a burden to my friends and family, the worst student in every class, the least attractive person on the planet. When I find myself in these moods, I distance myself from God’s loving, truthful call and instead decide to immerse myself in the lies the Enemy places in my head. These are the moments I feel farthest from my Father. Farthest from my purpose, farthest from who I am, farthest from who He created me to be.
Let me start by saying that if you find yourself in moods like these, don’t distance yourself from encouraging community, from the truth of God’s Word. Don’t give into the lies, because that’s what they are — lies. In Christ, God has formed a new creation in you, in each of His children: we are made for so much more.
“Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” – 1 Peter 1:13b-16 (emphasis added)
Followers of Christ are called to a higher standard of thinking. We are no longer citizens of this world, but sojourners, foreign travelers; Peter calls us “elect exiles” in 1 Peter 1:1. On multiple occasions we will be tempted to fall back into our typical human nature, into our self-centered thoughts, far from the truth that God has given us through Christ. It’s easy to be blindsided by the emotions of life and give into our familiar patterns. Trust me when I say I’m speaking from experience.
But, friends, we don’t have to live there anymore. We don’t have to listen to the enemy’s lies, whether those come through the words of other people or from thoughts planted in our hearts and minds. The Father has set us free. Through Christ we have been reborn, renewed, refreshed. Not for our own sake, but so we may use our lives to serve Him and glorify His great name.
“It was revealed to [the prophets] that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who have preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” -1 Peter 1:12
God desires for each and every person in all places, in all of history to know Him personally. He longs to lavish us with His joy and love and mercy and grace, to adorn us in righteousness and holiness, to give us each a new name, to call us all His sons and daughters. He yearns to draw us into His arms, away from our worldly desires, away from our sinful habits, away from our destructive thoughts, because He is worthy of all praise and glory. When we humbly set aside these things in favor of Him, He is glorified. When we submit to His call on our hearts — to share His glory with our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, strangers across the gas pump or strangers across the globe — He is glorified.
The prophets of the Old Testament were not given the gift of prophesy for themselves —they would never even see their prophecies be fulfilled with their own eyes. These people were used by the Father to speak and record truth, to pass it down through generations, to verify what was to come for the sake of the salvation of millions and for the sake of the glory of God. When we realize our gifts are not meant for us, rather for God’s glory, we break the cycle of self-destructive thoughts, of sin strongholds, of self-centered actions. We open ourselves up to the power of God within and through our lives.
The prophets Peter writes about in 1 Peter didn’t know God would use them the way He did; they were just as human and limited as you and I are. Yet they saw God had gifted them, realized the gift wasn’t for their benefit, and allowed God to work in and through them to impact the lives of others around the world for thousands of years for His glory.
In the midst of God’s overwhelming glory, Moses overcame his insecurity in his speech impediment, Joseph reconciled with his brothers after they’d sold him into slavery, Esther risked her life to save her people, God’s people. His glory is worth our all, and when we finally, fully realize this truth, all of our insecurities and fears and preferences fade. Do we still lack confidence and feel afraid? Absolutely. Will we struggle with insecurities? No doubt. Yet God is glorified even then as we allow Him to work within us to bring Him glory.
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flowers of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” -1 Peter 1:22-25 (emphasis added)
It has taken years of studying, years of throwing pity parties, years of conviction, years of begging prayers, but with God’s strength I’m trying to fix my eyes on Him, to see life beyond my small circle of influence. There are so many more important, eternally significant things than my insecurities, fears and preferences. He has led my eyes to Him to show me that He is in control. I’ve known and acknowledged and even celebrated that for the 10 years I’ve been following Christ, but there is a difference in knowing something in our minds and knowing it deeply within our hearts.
At the beginning of this year, I started a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a class God has used to open my eyes to the heartbreaking lack of His glory around the world. I’ve heard the statistics of Christ-followers across the globe, I’ve learned the names of unreached people groups, I’ve seen videos of believers around the world worshiping our great God, and I’ll never be the same. I know I’ll still fight my self-centered thoughts and insecurities, but I trust that God will uphold me and lovingly remind me of the goodness of the Gospel — the hope I’ve been given in Him and the desperate need for such around the world so He may be glorified in all creation. I pray that you allow Him to teach you the same things, that you open yourself up to His transforming power for your life, and that you allow Him to remind you of the Gospel and the urgent need of Christ’s good news all around you.