011613 - Identity that gives purpose...

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I recently polled the Sr. High youth with the following question---If you could ask God any question and get an answer, what would you ask Him?  The kids responded with amazing honesty (and seriousness!!!) and I was able to put the questions into about 5-6 groups.  The largest group of questions all related to the concept of purpose---Why was I created?  What is my purpose on Earth?  Am I doing what you planned for me?  If we are honest with ourselves, we all have wondered this at some point or another in our journey or are still trying to understand our purpose in life.

The verses above really speak to identity---‘ you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God’---Notice that the passage doesn’t stop there---‘that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’  God’s desire for us is to first grasp our identity that only He can provide.  These words speak of deep value, significance, and belonging!  We typically place our value in things that will pass away, but He calls us to rest securely and firmly in who He tells us we are! First step…repent and receive identity!

Now, think about different titles of identity within our culture---boss, employee, father/mother, spouse, coach, professor, etc.  Each of these titles confers significance, but it also gives purpose and call to action.  Identity never stops in and of itself and it always has purpose associated with it!  If we do not see purpose in our identity, then I don’t think we have truly understood and received the identity God so deeply desires for us to receive.

The same is true within the family of God.  He wants us to receive our identity as children and then to understand and live out the purpose He has for us.  One of His main purposes is that we ‘may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!’  This relates to Sunday’s message of being salt, light, a lamp, a city on a hill.  We are radically changed and then live this way among all the darkness in this world.  We show the light that we have received and people see the Father through us and come to know Him.  Then, they receive identity, which gives purpose, to share the amazing love God has for us in Christ!

The Apostle Paul is an example of this change from dark to light, inheriting identity, and living in purpose.  In 1 Timothy 2:3-7 he writes, This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransomfor all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.’ This passages shows God’s heart and Paul receiving this purpose and acting on it.  Brothers and sisters, let us receive the identity in Christ and then follow the purpose that God gives to each of His children---to be salt, to be light, to be a lamp, to be a city on a hill and proclaim our God, through word and deed, to all those we encounter!

How do the concepts of identity and purpose speak to you?  Are you living with purpose?  Is it in line with God’s purpose?  How would you know?  We pray for receptive and responsive hearts that the Spirit guides and directs!  I would love to hear your journey and how this passage impacted you.