ODJ: first

October 1, 2015 

READ: 1 Peter 2:4-12 

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness (v.9).

Seemingly unaware of leaflets littering the pavement and placards dotting the corners of the road junctions, the pedestrians around me continued their normal pace of life on this national election weekend. As a foreigner, I saw a distinct similarity between the smiling faces of the candidates staring from their two-dimensional advertisements and those from my home country. All promised change and hope.

We’re surrounded by any number of cultural influences: national, ethnic, family and even church. Every group to which we belong has its own identity and ways of viewing the world. It’s easy to live by the familiar, visible cultures around us. However, when Jesus told Pilate “my Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), He essentially told him: My kingdom looks different from man’s ideas.

Living a life that’s set apart isn’t a list of dos and don’ts. Neither does it mean we withdraw from any political process we’ve experienced through our earthly citizenship. But we must centre our identity on this truth: we’re His “living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple” (1 Peter 2:5). Everything we believe, act upon and say should carry the very DNA of God’s kingdom (vv.11-12). Our first citizenship—even above family and church identification—comes through Jesus.

We’ll never influence society if we care too much about public opinion or fitting in with our peers (vv.8-9). Defining ourselves by God’s truth allows us to live by these words: “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He provides all we need to boldly live a life that brings Him honour (Philippians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:3-4, 13).

—Regina Franklin

365-day-plan: John 20:24-21:14

Read Daniel 1 and 3. Consider how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s willingness to live differently from their surrounding culture prepared the way for a display of God’s protection. 
Where in your life do you find it difficult to be set apart for God? Can we ever be separated from secular society too much?