Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
I had a mindset of getting 1 Peter ‘done’, but it is troubling me. I have to go back to the beginning. As I have traveled through Matthew and Mark and looked deeply at who jesus is, I am now left with a second question that I keep coming back to: “Who am I?” The focus in the gospels on the identity of jesus must be the source of my identity. My life is hidden in his, he is my everything. My career and my family are centered around him, but who does that make me? Peter addresses his letter to the ‘exiles’ or ‘sojourners’ in the land. They have no political or social status, their primary identity would have been in the church. These people, unknown in their community, are known by the Father. They are sanctified in the Spirit, and they are obedient to Jesus. They believe in Trinity and they live with a Trinitarian perspective. My life is marked by a Trinitarian God. I am known by God the Father, chosen by him. This means that I am secure and set apart for good work. I have a purpose. However, I sometimes live and feel like an unknown who is not accepted. I feel insecure sometimes. Why this disparity?
The Holy Spirit is sanctifying, or changing, me. I can see that I have had to open up a heart that resisted vulnerability and change for many years. Because I was reluctant to accept criticism and a right view of myself, I was unable to change. Yet, I do not feel secure when I remember that I have got many things wrong. I believe that people, who wrongly believe they have it all together, will judge me. Somehow I will lose my precious status and security because proud people will see my transparency and mock me as I go back and give over to the Holy Spirit the things that I want to change. Why this discord?
I obey Jesus, but he leads me to places where I walk with fear and trembling. It is not an awesome stepping onto the slopes of a blazing Mount Sinai, but it is a fear of my safety, a fear of rejection, a fear of giving over control. I obey, but I do not see where this obedience will lead. We have our house on the market, open to its sale. We have adopted two children without knowing who they will become. I have committed myself to following Jesus on a path of healing, but I don’t know how the healing happens. Why the dissonance?
Peter reminds his readers of who they are. I sometimes remind Daryl, my son, that beyond his fears and timidity, he is a hero. The heroes of the Bible are heroes, not because of their own strength, but because God raised them up for a task. Under my anxiety, God has created a man of God who is irresistibly drawn to deeper holiness. I am a warrior of Jesus and I fight for him whether the enemies are without or within. God has called me and who resists his will? If God has called me in Christ, I will walk on. I walk as a head of a household; I walk as a teacher of men and women; I walk a path behind the Master – and though the narrow path may be unfamiliar to me, as I trust that he know the way, others will see my tremulous faith in one who lavishes strength and authority, and they too will follow.
Although I do not feel strong, my feelings are born from a false identity I have woven out of fear. The web of tangled lies that are deep in my chest ache as I try and cast them off. Jesus, cut through the false identity that I have created from falsehoods I have been told and have retold. Father, let me know the calling that I have received with a stronger trust and belief. Holy Spirit, lead me out of the darkness of doubt and into the radiance of a new name. What you have called me, God, let that be the name that identifies me. I am your child. Let me know your love.
- In what two ways are the recipients exiles and sojourners?
- How is the recipients’ identity rooted in the Trinity?
- How are election and security related?
- How is your identity rooted in the Trinity?
- How can you cultivate a Trinitarian lifestyle?