It’s really easy to focus on what others are doing. It’s really easy to note their faults, their failings, and where they don’t measure up. In fact, our fleshly nature encourages this because it means we are not casting our eyes inwardly upon ourselves. It means that if we are looking at ourselves at all, we are doing so only to compare to someone else and say, “I’m in pretty good shape, because I’m not as bad as that guy.” But if we do that, we miss the whole point of what God wants from us. After all, He has reminded us that we are created to be different:
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; – 1 Peter 2:9, NASB
We are a chosen race. We are a royal priesthood. We are a holy nation. We have been set apart for God’s own possession. Wait. Back up a second. We are a holy nation. Did you see that? Did you ever stop to ponder what that meant? Obviously God isn’t talking about one particular country, like what we do when we typically talk about nations. He’s talking about those He has called to be His own. But we’re not just any old nation. We’re a holy nation. We are set apart. We are to be like God in holiness. After all, we are His possession. But if you were like me, you didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “I want to live up to my role as part of God’s holy nation.” Instead, given that it’s a Monday, our thoughts were probably on work or school, on the long week ahead, and on just surviving. But God is saying through Peter here that we’ve got a wrong perspective. It’s not about surviving. It’s about more than that. It’s about remembering our proper place before God. It’s about stepping forward on a glorious path that has been set before us. We are a royal priesthood. We have been set apart to serve Him, to worship Him, to love Him, to exalt Him.
We do that best when we take an inward look at ourselves and identify those things which are obstacles to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. God has a special purpose for each one of us, but if we keep throwing up walls, we will miss out on that purpose. Those walls could be because of unconfessed sin in our lives. Those walls could be because our focus is all wrong – for instance, we are looking at the challenges for the week rather than the Overcoming God who can smash them all to pieces. Those walls could be because we’ve decided to be self-centered and not focused on the greater world around us where God calls us to live as an example. God wants us to be truthful with ourselves and with Him as we search our own hearts, much like the psalmist asked God to do here:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
– Psalm 139:23-24, NASB
See, God is looking for us to consecrate ourselves. He is looking for a people who want to be holy. He is expecting us to not be so worried about the week ahead but rather be concerned with whatever in our lives keeps us from Him. The events of the future will come and they will go. Some will be enjoyable, others won’t be. Some we’ll care about and others won’t matter a bit to us. But our unchanging and everlasting God is standing before us commanding us to be the holy nation He has set us apart to be. His expectations are clear:
‘You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you. – Leviticus 20:7-8, NASB
Let us seek to live up to our calling this week. Let us put aside the worries; let us not permit the challenges drag us away from Him who sustains us. Rather, let us live a life that shows we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation. Let us embrace the desire to be holy before God, to consecrate ourselves and not care about what others are doing, but instead what we are to do. Let us thrive because our God loves us and cares for us and has called us out of the darkness and into his marvelous light. It is He who sanctifies us and opened the way to forgiveness and salvation. So let us be His people first and foremost this week in every aspect of our lives.