“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV)
This isn’t where I thought I’d be at this point in my life.
Chances are you’ve had this thought; I certainly have.
When all my friends were buying houses, I struggled to buy groceries.
When the plus sign on the pregnancy test left other women elated, the negative sign on my test left me defeated.
When others watched their careers soar, I saw mine get sidetracked.
More than once I’ve hung my head in grief, anger, regret or shame and whispered, “This isn’t where I thought I’d be.”
It’s almost second nature to measure ourselves by where we are in life. We define our position relationally: single, married, widowed, divorced. We define our position professionally: top of the ladder, bottom rung. We even define our emotional well-being in language that alludes to where we are, with phrases like, “I’m in a good place” or “I’m in a tough spot.”
Why do we depend on defining ourselves by where we are?
I suspect it’s because, deep down, we’ve bought into the belief that where we are in life defines who we are in life. But what if this notion simply isn’t true?
Tucked away in the greeting of 1 Peter, we read words that might be easy to miss: “To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces …” (1 Peter 1:1).
Where were Peter’s readers? They were in exile. Who were Peter’s readers? They were God’s elect, “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood …” (1 Peter 1:2).
Exiled by others, they were elected by God. Rejected by culture, they were chosen by Christ. They were out yet in. Scattered yet secure.
And so are we. Where we are is not who we are.
And yet where we are affects us, doesn’t it?
The great temptation is to allow where we are to influence how we are rather than allow who we are to determine how we are and, therefore, how we live.
Like those early exiles, only when we maintain a firm grasp on who we are in Christ — chosen by the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, sprinkled by the blood of Christ — can we live obedient to Jesus, especially when where we are is not where we want to be.
The world, circumstances and other people may determine where we are, but only Jesus determines who we are. This truth is as vital for us to embrace as it was for Peter’s original audience. The success of our faith depends on the choice to live based on who we are rather than where we are. To go the long haul with Christ, who we are must inform how we live, wherever we live.
When we finally find ourselves at home in the place where who we are trumps where we are, we discover grace and peace in abundance.
Because no matter where we are — further along than we dreamed or further behind than we hoped — where we are isn’t who we are.
Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me. Help me to embrace the truth that You have called me, and help me live based on who I am rather than where I am. Help me live fully obedient to You no matter where I am in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV)
If you are a follower of Jesus, take a moment right now and declare these truths out loud over your life:
“I was chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
“I was chosen by the sanctifying work of God the Spirit.”
“I was chosen to be obedient to God the Son, who is Jesus.”
“I am God’s special possession, and I will declare His praises because He called me out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
How will you focus more on who you are in God’s eyes — versus where you are in the world’s eyes — so you experience more of God’s grace and peace? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
© 2022 by Donna Jones. All rights reserved.
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