Identity and purpose. When we know those truths about ourselves, everything else seems to find its place. Philosophers call these the “first order” questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Our answers to those questions will determine the course of our lives.

In 1 Peter 2, Peter is writing to persecuted Christians who are deciding whether living for Jesus in a world full of hatred and opposition is worth it. Often when we face trials and suffering in our lives, it’s because we’ve either forgotten who we are or why we’re here. Peter clearly and directly reminds these Christians and us today of both. He writes in 1 Peter 2:9-10: 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. 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.

Who are they (and we)? Chosen. Royal. Holy. Special. That’s worth noting! We’re not mistakes, rejects, forgotten, or ordinary. They are not what the world around them says they are. We are not who the voices around us say we are. What’s their (and our) purpose? To declare the praises of God! We’ve been set apart. Peter reminds them – don’t forget where you came from! You WERE ordinary, rejects, living in darkness. But now you have an identity AND a purpose worth living for! You were created not to blend in or give up. You were created to worship God with every part of your life. You were created to tell as many people as possible about the life-changing mercy of Jesus!

Identity and purpose. Christian, don’t forget who you are and why you’re here.

Questions for reflection:

  1. If you had to describe who you are without talking about your job, what would you say? Is your identity more rooted in who you are, or what you do? Why?
  2. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10 one more time. Do you believe those truths about yourself? How would you live differently if that were true of you?