There are some great phrases in the first couple chapters of The Message translation of 1 Peter. Phrases that stick in my mind…
“…let yourself be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy.'”
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.”
“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”
“Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.”
Over the next few days, I want to comment on these few verses, starting with that last one. It is evident today, that ‘among the natives’ of our world, following Jesus is no big deal. Jesus is seen as one option among many. And many people in our society who do choose to call themselves Christian live lives that look very little like the life of Jesus. A good number of them even seem hostile toward the very Body of Christ.
The stereotypical Christian response to ‘the world’ seems to be to withdraw into a churchy shell, do everything possible to build an appearance of being holy, and boycott anything that might reveal a crack in that facade. But this is not living ‘among the natives’. If all our good is done inside the church bubble, the world will not see it. And they’ll hold on to their prejudices.
Thankfully, that stereotype does not ring true for a growing number of Jesus’ followers. There are many who have traversed beyond the bounds of the bubble and are living out their following of Christ in full view of ‘the natives’. They love them the way Jesus does. They treat them the way Jesus does. They teach them the way Jesus does. And the walls of prejudice that many have built up against the church are giving way to the power of His Coming Kingdom.
May all our lives display Him so fully that others will come to give Him glory with us and celebrate with us when He returns.