An ordinary rock found in a field is often considered to be worthless or even a nuisance to get rid of. But that same rock in the hands of a master craftsman can become part of a beautiful work of art that inspires others to live, hope and love more.
In many ways, we are that ordinary rock. At some point, we all fail to measure up to the expectations of others, or ourselves, and that inadequacy renders a judgment of “flawed.” When we base our life on those kinds of estimations, we can never become the person that God has in mind for us to be.
But when our life is placed into the Master Craftsman who created us and redeemed us, everything changes, for he is at work making us into something far greater than anything we could imagine.
In his letter to the suffering Christians in Asia Minor, Peter first encourages them to remember all that God has done for them in bringing them into a new life of love with Jesus. He then reminds them, and us, of who we are in Jesus. In 1 Peter 2:5, we read, “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” God is telling us through this word picture is that he has reached down into the grimy mud of our hopeless existence without him, lifted us up, cleaned us off, chiseled away all the worthless bits that hold us back from life with him and placed us on the chief Cornerstone, his Son, Jesus Christ. Like the cornerstone of a strong foundation, Jesus both supports and aligns us.
As God aligns us with Jesus, he also fits us together with all the other small stones he has plucked out of the grimy field of human heartbreak, and he builds us all into a breath-takingly beautiful cathedral. The purpose of the several great and grand cathedrals built during the Middle Ages was to give people a taste of what it was like to be in God’s presence in heaven. Take a look at this picture of the ceiling in the Chartres Cathedral in France and imagine what it would be like to stand in that building and look up. That is what God is doing with you and all your sisters and brothers in Christ. He is building all of us together into a beautiful building where people can experience God.
Peter also tells us that we are all holy priests who serve the world on God’s behalf. He writes, What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. (1 Peter 2:5-6) What do priests do? They serve as intermediaries between people and God. In this passage, God is telling us that we are his special people he has chosen and sent to go into the world and be his hands and feet who serve others with his love. We serve as God’s priests to the world knowing that Jesus will fill in all the areas where we lack. Therefore, we know that our service pleases God. And it also blesses others for our service brings life from God to those around us.
As God’s holy priests, we also represent the world to God by diligently lifting the world up to God in prayer. God doesn’t need our prayers to know what needs to be done and do it, but he has chosen to involve us in his mission of healing and restoring all things. Therefore, we continually pray to God because we know that something always happens when we pray.
With Jesus, our core identity has been transformed. As we see in verses 9 and 10,
for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
In our new life with Jesus, our identity does not come from what we do, where we live or our ethnic background. Those things will all be meaningless at the end of time. Our identity comes from God. Through the mercy he has given us through his Son, Jesus Christ, God has made us one of his people in this world, a citizen of heaven, a member of the Body of Christ, placed here to reflect the light of God’s love into the world so that people could be drawn to that light and receive the gift of life with Jesus through faith in him.
Sometimes this Good News is too hard for us to believe on an everyday level. We look at our own flaws and brokenness and we tell ourselves that there is no way that God could do something worthwhile and significant through us.
But think about what it would be like if we could accept our flaws and frailties and still embrace Jesus and the new life that he gives to us, trusting that he does his best work in broken people like us. Because Jesus lives in us and we live in him, we go out and serve the world with God’s love full of confident joy because we know that Jesus is the Living Cornerstone that supports and aligns our life. We know that Jesus is the One doing the work of rescuing and restoring, and as we follow him, his light will shine through our cracked lives to bring healing and hope to others.
So I want to encourage you to see yourself as God sees you. You are living stone that God is building into a beautiful temple. You are a holy priest serving others with God’s love. You are one of God’s people in this world, his special possession, placed here to share the love you have been given with others.
Lilly Goodman is a gifted Christian singer from the Dominican Republic, and she has won several awards, including a Latin Grammy. In her testimony, which you can find by searching for “Lilly Goodman I am Second,” she tells of a time early in her singing career when someone threatened to bury her singing career because she would not cooperate in doing things that were not right. She looked that person in the eyes and said, “You know what? I am not interested, and my answer is no.” Lilly believes that it was the Holy Spirit who helped her say that. She goes on to say, “It is something that I always advise, that we put our trust in God, that we find our identity in Him. And when we know who we are, when we know our value and Who has created us and how He has created us, there is nothing that can intimidate us, much less a person who may want to come and cause harm.”
I want to encourage you to be a strong and courageous light to the world like Lilly is, wherever God has placed you. To help you do that, I am leaving you with this three-fold challenge:
- Remember what God has done for you as he aligned your life with his
- Embrace the new identity Jesus has given you as a beloved, forgiven child of God, a holy priest who forms, along with all your other fellow followers of Jesus a beautiful temple, a chosen people,
- Be who you are in Jesus and reflect the light of his love into the world around you.
As Jesus himself has said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” (Mt. 5:14). Remember who you are in the Body of Christ.