But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a peculiar people …
It is for you now to demonstrate the goodness of him who has called
you out of darkness into his amazing light.
1 PETER 2:9, 10
Christ followers today are in a quandary. We have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a me-too tailspin in which we devote our attention, our energies, our money, our very lives to fitting in with the world around us, even as we are left unfulfilled by the pursuit time and again. There in the tailspin, we fall prey to the beliefs that if we can just get that role at work, that leg up on the competition, that admission of wrongdoing from the person who harmed us, that coveted car or primo-neighborhood house, that “in” with a certain influencer, that thing—whatever it is—then (and only then) will our search be concluded. Then, we will be satisfied.
At last, we will be fulfilled.
In our quiet moments of solitude, rare though they are, we suspect there might just be another path to the deep-seated satisfaction we seek. But it’s only a suspicion … we’re not entirely sure the alternate path will pan out … and so we plow ahead, heads down, hearts racing, hair pretty much on fire, climbing and clawing, declaring and demanding, refinancing and remodeling, determined to get there—wherever “there” happens to be this time.
Soon enough, we’re exhausted … again.
Soon enough, we’re frustrated … again.
Soon enough, we’re contorting ourselves once again in a futile attempt to scratch the soulish itch that still we cannot reach.
WE’RE HARDLY THE first culture to wallow in this wearisome, demoralizing mess. Down through the ages, in every culture and era the world has ever known, our temptation in this life has been to see how much we can get, and also how much we can get away with. This two-pronged pull is what motivated the world’s most powerful governments to fight for more power still. It is what spurred on the slave trade—in ancient Egypt, in the Roman Empire, and in North America alike. It is what has been behind every war that’s ever been waged around the globe. It should come as no surprise that when the human heart is itchy, entire people groups live itchy too. Is there any relief to be found?
Long before this predicament presented itself, this issue of our chasing something that could never be caught, God had in mind a solution—a way that would lead us to long-sought satisfaction, a way that would get that annoying itch scratched. He would rally a people to himself and ask them to live “set-apart” lives. He would declare them beloved sons and daughters—whole, holy, handpicked. He would empower them with his Spirit, equipping them to live lives of impact and patience and grace. He would plant a craving for divine light in their hearts, which defeats darkness in all its forms. He would give them a mission to change the world with these traits and would accompany them each step of the way, along the path he himself said he’d make straight. A “peculiar people”—that’s what he’d call them.
Belonging exclusively to Jesus Christ.
Deniers of self.
By definition, ones who don’t fit in.
These are my shaping thoughts for a new book I’m planning to write soon. The working title is Peculiar, Embracing the Oddities of a Christ-Oriented Life.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
May 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm
Pastor Brady, I love the content and the poetic nurturing of your wording. This topic, above all, is of great need in our culture. This has been a conversation piece for me and my wife on more than a few occasions in recent weeks. This is such a good and needed message. I look forward to reading and learning more as you move through the writing process. many blessings!
May 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm
Thanks Damon. I appreciate the encouragement. Thanks for reading the blog.
May 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm
I think peculiar goes hand-in-hand with the salt and light descriptions. Christ-followers quickly realize that the less we can get of “me” the more we get of “Thee”. In the world but not of the world…different, unlike the “norm”, odd and even weird. I was once told I was a “Jesus freak” and I had to agree. When we have the fruit of the Spirit long enough we are bound to produce evidence of Him in us and those around are will notice and, hopefully, seek the same hope that dwells in us. (And His name is Jesus!)
Belief is great, it starts us on our walk with Him, but the doing is where the rubber meets the road and is where miracles happen.
(The friends knew their paralyzed friend could be healed if they could get Him to Jesus so instead of going away sad and bitter because folks were crowded into the doorway, they made a new entrance way via the roof and lowered their friend to Jesus…and got their miracle!)
Colossians 3:1-4 (The Message (MSG)
He Is Your Life
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.