As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)
Peter described Jesus as a living Stone. Ever seen one? What qualities do you associate with stone? Immovable, unyielding, foundational, durable, solid.
But living? That’s a new one.
Peter tells us that we too are living stones. The metaphor comes from the idea of a cornerstone. The cornerstone set the standard for the other stones used in the building: the type of rock, their placement, and their alignment.
Peter applied three additional word pictures to his readers:
1. Spiritual house: “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” While “house” may refer to lineage and nationality (like the house of David or the house of Israel), “house” also evokes thoughts of home and family. God desires fellowship with you. You are not being built into office space. You’re being built into a house. What kind of house? A spiritual one. A sacred home set apart for God Himself as opposed to an unspiritual house like a house of prostitution, open to anything.
2. Holy priesthood: “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” At first reading, I thought holy priesthood sounded redundant. Aren’t priests holy? In light of current events, I realized the adjective was needed. The office of priest, pastor, or minister never guarantees holiness of character, even in Scripture (See Eli’s sons in 1 Samuel 2:12-17). Belief affects behavior. That’s true for both holy and unholy, regardless of title, robe, or collar. We who carry Christ’s name represent Him to the world in all we do. Holiness should mark us.
3. Spiritual sacrifices: “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices” So what is considered a sacrifice and what makes it a spiritual one? A sacrifice:
- Costs you something (David, 1 Chron. 21:24)
- Is offered to the One who is worthy (vs. self)
- Is offered with a proper motive (Gen 4:3-7)
For example, you’re sacrificing right now to read this blog. It costs you time, has a God-focus, and is motivated by a desire to grow closer to God. God is focused on His relationship with you. He would rather spend time with you than have you do something for Him, yet apart from Him.
Note, the living Stone is also chosen by God and precious to Him. Are we choosing the same things God chooses? Do we value the same things He values?
So, as we kick off January 2019, know this:
Where you come from: The living Stone, chosen by God and precious to Him.
Who you are: Also a living stone, chosen by God and precious to Him.
Your purpose: To be built into a spiritual house, His house.
Why: To be a holy priesthood, to represent Him well.
How: By offering spiritual sacrifices through Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Here’s to a rock solid 2019.
P.S. A Note From Gayle
It’s January. We who hit the gym regularly prepare for the influx of new faces. Lifestyle changes prove challenging. Many drop after a few weeks.
However—a few will endure. They fight through soreness, apathy, and old habits to finish December strong, fit, and confident.
Perhaps the gym presents no such issue for you, but spiritual things like consistent Bible reading, prayer, memorization—they can be daunting. In 2019, we’ll exercise a different spiritual muscle each month as we study God’s word. I’ll include tips, resources, and anything else I’ve found helpful. Remember, anything tops nothing. Five minutes a day adds up to over half an hour by week’s end. That half hour every week totals over twenty-five hours by December. Twenty-five hours of Bible reading or prayer, fifty if you give five minutes to each. Fifty hours with God by next January? It starts here and now.
January’s spiritual discipline instructs us in meditation. The spiritual discipline of meditation covers the idea of “listening to God’s word, reflecting on God’s works, rehearsing God’s deeds, ruminating on God’s law, and more.” (Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 15) Exercise your meditation muscles by choosing one thought or verse to reflect on tomorrow. Continue through the week. Journal anything the Holy Spirit says to you.
Workout for the Week: Rock Solid (1st of 4 posts on 1 Peter 2:4-10)
Memory Verse: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)
Meditation Passage: 1 Peter 2:4-9
Do It: Living, spiritual, holy. Be intentional this week.
Resources: Richard Foster has long been the spiritual disciplines guru. I’ve included links to several of his books below:
Foster’s first book that explains the spiritual disciplines.
(Study guide for the book above)
Probably my favorite, a collection of readings and Scripture focused on each discipline.