“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” (1 Peter 2:9)
Time seemed to stand still the day your presence engulfed me. So long I searched, and then you called me by name. Your love arose within me like hot embers fanning an eternal flame. I experienced healing, and life made perfect sense. For you had called me, chosen me to serve you, and life would forever change. The peaceful bliss of knowing you would soon give way to storms.
My walk with you would lead on a path I couldn’t trek alone… Thrust in the wilderness where I would need to rely on your power alone. There comes a time in every Christian’s life where we will be tested, and we must choose faith in God’s ultimate plan. For He is the potter and we are his clay, continuously molded to serve his purpose, and discovering our true identity rests with Him. Dear Christian, you have been bought with a price, and called with a purpose. Trials and temptations will mark your life. There are days we fight to find God’s presence. Forced to beg for His blessing. Suddenly we find ourselves wrestling with God.
God has called you to become a new creation, known to God as a new name, born unto his heavenly family. He has set you apart from the world, and it is through the struggles that your new name (new purpose) emerges. All throughout the Bible, God shows many instances where he has chosen people, and bestows a new name upon them. A sign of being born from the flesh but now into the spirit. In Genesis 32:24-30, Jacob wrestles God. Throughout the night Jacob wrestles with a man who appears to him; and then stubbornly proclaims, “I will not let you go until you bless me!” It is at this time, the man (God) asks him, “What is your name?” When Jacob answers back his name, God replies, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob”. He is given a new name…”Israel”. His old name means “deceiver”, his new name “Israel” means “strives with God.”
In this cosmic scuffle, Jacob’s hip is popped out of socket, now forced to walk with a limp. This handicap would forever end his self-reliance. There is a blessing in striving with God that you can not attain when all remains smooth. For it is then our new nature is being formed, and we realize our own weakness that can only be perfected in God’s strength. As I gave up my life to follow Jesus I am now cloaked in His blood sacrifice and filled with His spirit so I can become new. Now called out of darkness into His marvelous light.
In the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus, “its content was originally meant to instruct the new nation of Israel in proper worship and right living, so that they may reflect on the character of their divine king” (Chuck Swindoll, Overview of Leviticus, Insight.org). The primary theme of Leviticus is sanctification. “And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot” (Leviticus 14:14). Blood was used as a cleansing ritual. It was applied to the right ear so they would hear differently. Blood was applied to the right thumb to represent using our hands for service and worship. And then it was applied to the right big toe so that we would walk differently.
The significance of the right side was seen as a sign of power, and strength. “The fully consecrated must be pure in words and action and in life; for words are judged by hearing, the hand is the symbol of action, and the foot of the pilgrimage of life” (Philo, 1st century Egypt). Often the cleansing rituals done in Leviticus taught how to cleanse from leprosy, which is a precursor to the cleansing of Jesus for our sin. Leprosy causes decay to the flesh, as sin cause decay to the spirit. In the New Testament the blood of the lamb (Jesus) represents the cleansing oil of the consecration.
When we surrender our lives to Jesus we are being called to war. We must put off our former selves, and engage in battle between the spirit and the flesh. “To put off your former self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Jesus has covered us with his blood sacrifice and filled our bodies (His temple or dwelling place), with His Holy Spirit, so one day our spirit will be with Him in eternity. We will then be perfected. But while here we must fight the flesh that only turns to decay. For God has called us to walk by His spirit. Therefore, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh; which only wages war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).
The battle we wage is fighting to become our new name. A new name known to God, that divides us from our old self. Our new name renders us sojourners and exiles to the world. Set apart to call those towards the light. No longer a slave to the ruler of this world and present darkness. Welcome to this journey of walking in His spirit, finally putting off our prior identity, and embracing our new name as a child of God.