Believers, children of God, are considered “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” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG). Today, the big questions we should ask ourselves: Are you speaking out for Him? Is your life telling others of a difference He has made by your example? Are you praising God with your words and deeds?
The word excellencies is translated from “ἀρετάς” which literally means “virtue.” The only other time it is used in the New Testament is in Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT). This same word is used in Isaiah 43:21, where we read: “the people I formed for Myself that they may proclaim my praise” (NIV). The New Living Translation states, “I have made Israel for Myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.” Eugene Peterson’s translation describes them as “people custom-made to praise me” (MSG).
If we are to “tell about the excellent qualities of God,” it is not simply by the words we speak, but by the actions we take in life (GW). We show forth praises by our profession of Truth and by a good example. Let us examine the words we speak. Let us examine the actions we take. Are we telling people about the “excellent qualities of God” or telling them something very different? Are we professing the Truth or spewing something else?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 [ESV]
At some point in life we begin to question if we are making an impact in the lives of others. We go through periods where we doubt or wonder if we are making a difference at all. The problem is that with having such a huge social media network and newspapers and television programs all over the globe, we see others that are doing such grand things and we might not be building a children’s hospital in a third world country or speaking about Jesus at a large conference in a huge stadium.
We need to be mindful of the fact that every single thing that we do for the Lord, whether it is something our human minds see as large or small, to God, it is a great thing. I do not see anywhere in the Bible where it says that God will rate what we do on the attention it gets on the 6 o’clock news or the grand nature of a project. Every single thing that God calls us to do matters to God—it’s not about the job itself but the heart of the person doing the job. Being fruitful can result from being a door holder to a housekeeper to a pastor to a truck driver who shares the Gospel along his route.
On a recent trip, I was waiting in line to use the restroom when I got in a conversation with a lady waiting in line behind me. We did not say much but we shared for a bit. The conversation lasted only a few minutes. Two hours later, we arrive at our hotel and checked into our room. As we begin unloading the car, the same lady I spoke with earlier was outside in the parking lot asking me if I was following her because both our families ended up at the same hotel hours later. I’m not sure why God had us meet up again but I’m sure He had a good reason. But I do know that she likely would not have remembered me if I would have kept facing front, not said hello, and walked out like I was never there at that gas station.
Today I challenge you to connect with people. Don’t walk through the grocery store while on your cell phone. If you are doing business with a bank teller or a cashier, smile and address them by their name. If you are taking your dog for a walk, say “hello” to those you pass. With these simple gestures, we can share Christ. Remember that God uses everything you give Him.
Don’t forget that you are part of “a chosen people.” You are special to God and if you give Him something, He will take it and use it for His glory.
“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.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Everyday is filled with choices. When we wake up in the morning, we choose what clothing we will wear. We choose what breakfast we want to eat. We have so many choices that we make all day long. The Bible says that God chose us. We are His chosen people. Colossians 3 says that we “have been chosen of God, holy and beloved.” In 1 Peter 2, it says, “you are A CHOSEN RACE, a royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION” (v. 9). So we are chosen. But it doesn’t end there. We must make a choice too. Now most people think our choice is to simply accept Christ, know and believe John 3:16, and we have done what was necessary.
It is important that we take the first step, pray to God and accept Jesus into our hearts. At the same time, it doesn’t end there. Each day we have a choice. Each day we are met with different options, difficult situations, and everything requires a choice to be made. You might not believe it, but even how you eat makes a statement. Are you eating properly and taking care of the body you were given, or are you just eating whatever comes your way?
Moses made a choice, a choice that some people would find difficulty in making considering his situation. He was at the very top, the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Imagine being in such a high position. Even so, he stepped down and assumed the role God had for him. It was a greater role, but it was a hard path to take in life. He endured hardship, pain, suffering. It wasn’t the life that he could have lived had he not made the choice to follow God’s will.
Jesus also left His high position, was born as a vulnerable baby in poor conditions. He endured all of the world‘s sin out of love for His Father and to submit to the will of God. God made this great choice so that we could have life once again with Him. We may not have the strong faith like Moses. We may not see the value of each choice we make; however, the choices are there. Today, make the choice to live intentionally. Be intentional when you make decisions. You have the freedom of choice, such power to decide. Each decision has an outcome. Seek out God’s will and ask the Holy Spirit to help you be intentional with your choices. In doing so, you will see what a difference choices can make in life.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” – Hebrews 11:24-26 [NASB]