Living Loved When Living’s Hard | Day 4
Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-8
“Coming to Him, a living stone – rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God – you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 HCSB)
A couple years ago, I was asked by one of my best friends to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. We were pretty close, but we had only known each other for about a year, and I hardly knew her then fiancé.
The following year was full of dress fittings, parties and showers, and just random stuff that comes up when you’re best friends with the bride.
Through all of the wedding preparation, I was able to get to know a few of the bride’s other friends, people who I still talk to and see frequently – even if it’s just touching base on Facebook or through a text message. I spent more time with her groom, and now he gets to see me quite often since I spend hours at their house.
The bride is still one of my best friends, and we’ve only grown closer since her wedding. She’s one of my people, part of my squad or my tribe, if you will. We trust each other to take care of one another’s pets (which is huge, let me tell you), and she’s someone I can call whenever I need something.
There’s something about being chosen to do something that strikes a sense of belonging inside of us. We feel proud at being picked, especially when we’ve been picked for a specific, exclusive position.
Typically, the position of a bridesmaid is reserved for people who are close to the bride (or the groom), people the bride trusts, people the bride wants to stand by her side as she makes one of the largest commitments of her life.
It’s a pretty sweet position to be picked for.
Being asked to be a bridesmaid made me feel like I belonged, like I was accepted for who I was. I wasn’t picked just because it was a convenience. It was because the bride saw me being worthy of standing next to her and celebrating alongside her during her special day.
Sisters, having that sense of belonging and acceptance amongst our friends is so important, but belonging to Jesus is even better.
Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, meaning that it is through Him that Christianity stands. The foundation of the Christian faith is founded on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Without those things, our faith would fall apart.
By accepting Christ’s sacrifice, we are covered by His righteousness and brought into God’s favor because of His grace that covers our sins and imperfections. This acceptance by God makes us so unified with Christ that we take on His identity. Peter refers to us as being “living stones,” people who are so closely identified with Christ that they can continue to build onto the foundation He laid (verse 5).
Sticking with this metaphor, Peter tells us that God is using us to build a spiritual house to offer sacrifices to Him. Peter obviously doesn’t mean that we’re building a literal building, so what’s his point?
I think what Peter is trying to tell us is that while our faith rests completely on the foundation laid by Christ, our lives are so intertwined with one another that we make up a single entity.
That’s kind of a weird way to say it, but bear with me.
Paul had a similar idea in at least two letters he wrote (1 Corinthians and Ephesians). He refers to followers of the Christian faith as the Body of Christ. Like a literal human body is made of different, individual body parts, the Body of Christ is made up of different, individual people.
A literal church building is made up of different, individual stones all building up from the same foundation; the Church is made up of different, individual people building up from the same Savior.
In Ephesians 2, Paul writes, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in who the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (verses 19-21).
Friend, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have been brought into the household of God. You have been fully adopted into His family (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1-2). This has nothing to do with who you are or who you’ve been and everything to do with the sacrifice Christ made on your behalf.
And one of the biggest blessings of being brought into the family of God is the other believers who have been adopted as well, people we can call brothers and sisters.
People who are part of the family of God will never lack when it comes to family. We’re given extra moms and dads, brothers and sisters – people who are willing to enter into our struggles and bear our burdens.
(For the next few paragraphs I’m going to be talking specifically to my fellow Christians, so if you’re not a believer, you can ignore the stern, big-sister talk I’m going to have with my brothers and sisters).
Body of Christ, those who are supposed to be witnesses for Him to the rest of the world, who are supposed to show His love by how we love one another,
How are we doing?
When unbelievers see or hear our interactions with one another, do they see the love of Christ?
When unbelievers see our steamed political or denominational rants on social media, do they see the love of Christ?
We’re going to have disagreements. There are going to be interpretations of Scripture that we don’t agree on. That’s why we have a multitude of denominations to choose from.
I grew up Baptist and attended a Baptist college. I worked at a Lutheran school while attending an Evangelical Free church. Now I’m going to an Open Bible church. I’ve been all over the place! And you know what I found? There were people in each denomination that loved Jesus and found their hope in His sacrifice.
Were there things in different churches that I disagreed with? Yes. Did I have conflicts with people within the different churches? Yes.
That’s going to happen. We may be part of the family of God, saved by His grace, but we’re still imperfect little sinners. We still have imperfect little minds, and we’re all trying to understand Scripture the best we can with what we have. It is what it is. But at the end of the day, when you boil it all down, we have the same family resemblance binding us together: The love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Knowing where you stand on certain issues is important. Having serious discussions with other believers about what you believe and concerns you have about Scripture is important. Lovingly confronting a friend who is sinning is important.
But all of those things need to be done in private. An open forum, public to the world (hello, Internet) is not the place.
The way we interact with one another should NEVER get in the way of someone coming to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
We’ve been entrusted with the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:4) and commanded to share it (Matthew 28:19-20). God chose us before the foundation of the world to be part of His mission. And the way we’re to do that, the way we are to point to our God, is by the way we love one another (John 13:34-35).
Is this how people know we’re followers of Jesus? By how well we love one another?
In 1 Peter 1, Peter challenged us to love one another with a sincere brotherly love, and now, in 1 Peter 2:1-3, he tells us how we can do this:
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
There it is, guys. Get rid of cattiness, get rid of the arguing just to argue, get rid of your need to be right. Stop making one another look bad. Start celebrating successes instead of magnifying one another’s weaknesses.
Times of confrontation will happen. That’s part of being a family. We are told to help one another grow (Colossians 3:16), and sometimes that means speaking hard truths that hurt. But that should only be done in private with people you have a close relationship with and access to.
We have the power of God literally residing inside of us. What would happen if we stopped nitpicking one another and started loving one another like Jesus intended?
What would happen if the people around us knew us as believers because of how we love one another rather than by what we stand against?
What would happen if unbelievers could actually see the family resemblance in our lives?
✌️ – Tonya
Are there believers around you that you need to work on having a better relationship with? Think about Christians who are in your workplace or your neighborhood, the other mom’s in PTO or who volunteer in your child’s classroom – does your relationship with them rightly reflect the relationship you have with Jesus Christ?
Feel free to respond below! Or just leave a nice comment 😉