Day 36: February 5, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Proclaiming the Praises of your Deliverer
by Derek Webster, Missions Mobilization Minister, Brentwood Campus

Peter reminds the reader of the descriptions of God’s people as revealed in the Old Testament. He reminds us that God is completely consistent in the way He views us. We are HIS. We are defined by Whose we are, which is the explanation for what we do.

It’s this identity that marks Christianity as unique. Evangelism is not a pyramid scheme that seeks to “enroll” or “indoctrinate” people into Christianity. Evangelism is an introduction of love, a cross-cultural experience as a holy nation engages an unholy world.

Holiness is a reflection of God’s work in our lives. Holiness literally means “other worldly.” There should be something about our perspectives and actions that are focused on seeing what others don’t. This revelation isn’t something we could do for ourselves, but something only He could bring us into. It is HIS reality and we are invited into it.

I confess that I sometimes confuse the extraordinary with the ordinary. I get so used to the kingdom of God that I become self-obsessed about my own journey through it. And that’s the anti-thesis of growing in His likeness because He’s selfless. So I often have to wrangle my thoughts, attitudes, and actions to a place where I am proclaiming my gratitude, adoration, and thankfulness to best express what I know to be true – that Jesus changed everything.

When I’m shifting that thankfulness, I find it’s easier to be in community. I don’t try as hard and learn to rest in Him who is setting me apart to be holy. In being wholly His I’m learning holiness. And so proclamation becomes primarily about my willingness to surrender to that which is so much better—and thanksgiving begins to overflow.

In a world that is selfish, unyielding and feels it is entitled, we evangelize best by standing firm in stark contrast as a people who are selfless, humble, and grateful.

In the past, we’ve confused the phrase “proclaiming the praises” with a worship-only proposition. Or worse, we’ve relied on a Christian concert or worship service to do the evangelism in our stead.

Peter is telling us that we are a people (plural) who are called, and we are called to “proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness.” This is a very specific praise indeed. It isn’t just about adoration; it’s about the recognition that it is exclusively through Jesus that our realities were changed.

Praxis

Someone once said that grace doesn’t fully come to you unless it moves through you to others. In many ways, the same can be applied to mercy. We go because we want to demonstrate how merciful God is to His people. We proclaim our gratitude for the life we now lead because it is so radically different from the life we deserved to continue leading.

Here are three ways to apply 1 Peter 2:9-10 to your life:

  • You are not just grafted individually, but you are a part of the people (plural). You are a part of a holy nation. Consider ways you can encourage others within that nation. How can you spur one another on to show appreciation to the God you serve?
  • We don’t proclaim the praises of the One to one another, but to the world into which He’s called us. Holiness can be seen in an unholy world. Consider how you can share the GOOD news with others. What is it that makes it so good and how can you incorporate the reflection of that goodness into your conversations with others?
  • What dark areas of your own life do you sense God still calling you out of? Write down one area in which God is calling you to a higher standard.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.