Within the kingdom of priests that is the church, every Christian is a mirror of grace. We each are the very image of God mediating Christ: first to one another, then to the rest of the world. In today’s passage, this enormous and foundational grace is contextualized within functional limits: each of us can live according to our individually assigned faith.
But what is the meaning of this assigned faith? Whatever it is, unless we experience it in the light of true faith and true humility, we will be tempted to jealousy.
As we grow in the worship of God with our whole selves, we realize that God transforms each of us in a unique way. God magnifies us in Christ, and the very transformation of our character is the result, much like the physical transformation of a caterpillar in a chrysalis. And—just as every butterfly knows—transformation is challenging. We have to adjust. We must learn to live with our wings.
Apart from faith, the wings of our uniqueness tempt us to become proud of our own wings and say, “I’m glad I’m me and not you!” or to become jealous of others’ wings and say, “I wish I were you instead of me.”
But each person’s giftedness is a unique grace. Since we are one body with many parts, not individual Christians competing for glory, we are free to cooperate in our uniqueness. So Paul’s call to “sober judgment” is answered in us only as we realize that we are a kingdom of priests for one another.
Lord, grant me humility to avoid both aspects of the comparison trap: pride and jealousy. Advance your kingdom in my church by instilling a sober judgment in us about such things. Amen.
Genesis now introduces a painful turn in the story of God’s people. The Israelites are forced into slavery; yet amid this dark time, a baby boy, Moses, is born. God has already begun the story of their deliverance. The psalmist recognizes that the Israelites would be overwhelmed and swept away without the help of the Maker of heaven and earth. Paul gives the Romans two specific instructions: First, they should be changed so that they follow God’s ways, not the world’s. Second, they must understand that they all need one another. Each child of God has a part to play in the overall body of Christ. In a famous passage in Matthew, Peter makes the basic Christian confession: Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.
Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. How can you serve in a priestly role?
Read Psalm 124. Reflect on the many ways God has blessed you and your community. Consider writing your own song of ascent.
Read Romans 12:1-8. What part of yourself are you holding back from God? How can you bring your whole self to your faith?
Read Matthew 16:13-20. Why do you think it is important to fully understand Christ’s identity before witnessing to Christ’s mission?
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