1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (The Message Bible)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; (King James Version)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a[special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (Amplified Bible)
In college my major was sociology, so in my junior and senior year especially, I found myself surrounded by others who shared my love of dialogue about societal and cultural norms. One night, a group of us was talking about heritage, and my friend David, who was adopted, shrugged when asked if he knew where he came from. He said it didn’t matter what his family of origin had shared with him; that who he was in Christ was what made him who he was.
I didn’t get it.
Years later, I met my first husband, who was from Hawai’i, and his family shared great diversity. There was often conversation between his sister and I about the tension she sometimes felt between honoring her native cultural tradition(s), and her Christian faith. I share this deep love of heritage, and my first two children were named to reflect the value we placed on where they came from.
Culture was paramount.
Fast forward to today, and I am very clear on where my identity comes from – but more so, my value. Where we come from gives us depth, traditions, common ground, heritage, culture. Who we come from defines our potential, our passions, our value.
As Christ-followers, it is paramount that our identity be found in Him first.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”
Our earthly identities can bring with them expectations, limitations, and identity issues, which can hinder us from pursuing all that God has for us. While we can still value and appreciate that which we hold dear, we must be willing to let go of those things which might keep us from identifying with Christ.
Jesus himself admonished the disciples (Luke 9:3-5) and two believers longing to follow him in his ministry (Luke 9:59-62), to let go of cultural expectations and go with him, regardless of how those around them may judge their choice to do so.
Breaking tradition (social/familial norms) will always bring division.
Is there anything you hesitate to do because of the expectations of others? Do you feel limited in your capacity or vision for your personal ministry when filtered through lenses that remind you of who you used to be, or where you come from? Does it feel scary to do something differently than how it’s “always been done?”
Could it be that you were made for more than this??
I would encourage you to spend a little time this week, asking God to reveal where He might be wanting to renew your mind; to open it to a fresh perspective. Allow Him to reveal potential roadblocks that you perhaps aren’t aware of. Seek out and be intentional about spending more of your time with fellow believers, if you don’t already.
If you follow Jesus as your Savior, you are now in the bloodline of Christ. Drop anything that might bring hesitation in following passionately after His calling. No matter where we come from, God has already authored where we are headed.