A Holy People

Open Your Bible

1 Peter 2:1-10, Psalm 34:1-14, Hebrews 13:14-16

Haley and I sat down at a picnic table. Her four young children ran to the playground.

“So what do you want to know?” she asked. I took in a deep breath and looked at my notes. Where to begin?

Earlier that year, I’d begun interviewing female veterans as research for a novel. Tall and blonde with striking blue eyes, Haley was dressed in casual jeans and a tee-shirt. You would never guess that just a few years ago, she had been deployed to Afghanistan, leading an engineering platoon.

While they were deployed, she told me, her platoon built outposts for incoming NATO troops. Every few weeks, she and a group of 20 soldiers would travel to a remote location in the desert, where they’d construct wood platforms, assemble huge Army-green tents, and dig a trench as a temporary latrine. While they worked, an infantry unit provided security around the perimeter. They had to build quickly; the opposition was everywhere.

The image of Haley holding a hammer in the middle of enemy territory comes to mind as I read today’s passage. After all, Jesus calls us to begin constructing the kingdom of God here on earth—even though we will face resistance.

Peter wrote his letters to a specific population of Christians who lived just before Roman Emperor Nero’s brutal persecution of the church, which began in 64 A.D. At the time, Christians experienced slander, ridicule, and discrimination from their neighbors. They were facing opposition on all sides, and Peter knew that the pressure was only going to get worse.

But in the midst of a dire situation, there was hope. Peter leans on a construction metaphor, explaining that they were being built up, like “living stones” into a spiritual house (v.5). And the resistance? The rejection? The reviling? None of that would come as a surprise to Jesus. He warned His followers that they would face persecution, opposition, and even open hatred (John 16:33). He knew they would face these things, because when you build a new kingdom in the middle of enemy territory, the enemy takes aim.

At the heart of this passage is a call to keep building—even if we’re afraid, even if it’s hard. (Perhaps especially if it’s hard.) I am a builder in the midst of enemy territory. So are you. There might be differences among us—race, age, nationality, background—and yet, our shared identity as Christ-followers gives us the freedom to stand side-by-side, raising our hammers together, participating in the construction of the kingdom of God.

When the hammer gets heavy, 1 Peter 2:10 stands as a reminder: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” And Jesus? He is our cornerstone, the first piece of the foundation and the rock upon which the whole structure rests. Without Him, it would all fall apart.

Keep building the spiritual house in the midst of this world. Do not grow weary. It may seem futile at times, but all our building is not in vain. With Jesus as our cornerstone, we are the beginnings of a city that will endure forever.

(43) Comments

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43 thoughts on "A Holy People"

  1. Louise Peddar says:

    I love these studies, I would appreciate more questions and life application points?

  2. Lyndsey Watson says:

    This passage is one of my favorites. We may all be different in a multitude of ways, but we are a holy people, chosen to shine the light of Christ here on earth. With Christ as our cornerstone and God’s mercy supporting us – together, we can build. Really cool imagery and promise!

  3. Carolyn RayeParsons says:

    This passage makes me feel a call to maturity. A call to keep growing. Keep pursuing. To practice daily habits that keep my heart focused on the Lord when I face challenges during the day

  4. Keturah G says:

    No matter what comes our way we have eternal hope in Christ the Living Stone! All that we do for God and in the name of the Lord is not now nor will it ever be, in vain.

  5. Kelly Ewald says:

    He is a firm foundation ❤️

  6. Maddie Bland says:

    Can someone elaborate on why David pretended he was insane? I didn’t know that before I read this! Super awesome – learning about 1 & 2 Peter but also diving deeper into the Old Testament.

    1. Dani Lane says:

      He was running from Saul. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 21; he was afraid when he was recognized by another king

  7. Becky Bjur says:

    This is such a good reminder of the purpose for which God has planted us in the world… to be a “living stone rejected by men” who will become a “cornerstone.” I live in a foreign country by myself and am surrounded by non-Christians who hate God and would want to see me torn down. I am faced with temptation and mockery every day, but I am reminded that God is doing a great work in and through me! Because I am part of His chosen race a part of His people! And because of this, I know that I don’t have to face these trials alone :) praise the Lord!

  8. Jackie Mars says:

    That was such a beautiful comment Kirsten! I never would have looked at it that way. But praise God that He’s given us the Holy Spirit so we don’t have to do the building alone.

  9. Tricia says:

    Appreciate your comment,Kirsten. Reassuring reminder to begin my Saturday morning.

  10. Kirsten Belh says:

    I love that the verb is actually passive. We are being built up. Who is being built up? We are. Someone else is doing the building. In other places of Scripture we are told to work out our salvation, to put on the armor of God, to care for widows and orphans, to teach our children. We are able to do those things because of the passive vern here…because we are being built up by the Holy Spirit.

  11. Tiffany Heep says:

    I love how God puts scripture in our lives at the perfect time. I am days behind, but I needed this exact scripture to give me strength through a season I am in right now. Thank you!!!

  12. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would continue to grow up in God. That I would build his kingdom here on Earth.

  13. Emily McGhee says:

    This is such a great encouragement! We live in such a Godless society. Raising kids in this environment is spiritually tiresome. I pray God gives us all clarity to see, wisdom to know, and strength to endure.

  14. Aimee D says:


  15. Kimberly Haag says:

    I love the image of construction, preparing, getting ready for…. This makes me think of how we ought to build habits into our lives that will serve us when the going gets tough. Build habits of turning to Christ in even the smallest frustration. Build habits of rest, living in community, spending time in the Word, and rejoicing. When life takes an unexpected turn for the worst, it will be natural to turn to Jesus, loved ones, gratitude, and truth.

  16. KaDe says:

    Once you were not a people, but now you are Gods people. 1Peter 2:10
    The dictionary gives the follow definition of people: human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.
    I take great comfort in knowing as a group of Christian we are not alone. We are linked by the love of God and the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ.

  17. Samantha Miller says:

    Lord, help me overcome the weariness and continue to build for You.

  18. Beth Hinson says:

    without Jesus as my cornerstone I would most definitely fall apart. I am weak, I have unrealistic expectations, and I tire easily, but in Jesus I am STRONG, I am WONDERFULLY MADE, and I ENDURE for the glory of his kingdom because I know His strength is much greater than my own. Even when enemies approach, I rest in the knowledge that Jesus has defeated the worst punishment of all-death. Thank you God for the strength and fearlessness you are continuing to grow within me!

  19. Amanda MarieO'Malley says:

    We forget sometimes
    That we are in the enemy’s territory, and let me tell you that today I feel it and they enemy is attacking hard. But I have the victory!!!! The enemy is defeated

  20. Cecelia Enns Schulz says:

    Angie, your words reminded me of the start of a poem or song God gave me a few weeks ago.
    Bind me to your alter, Father
    If in fear I’d run away
    Bind me to your alter, Father
    In faith I stand and say
    I offer up myself to You, do what You need to do…

    I know that I want to give up my all for Jesus. He is worthy. But sometimes I’m scared. Sometimes I hold onto my rags thinking they’re all I have. Sometimes it’s hard to see how He could have anything better than the good things I have and I try to hold on. But my heart knows that He is always good and His is always better than mine. And I pray, God! Bind me to your alter! Burn away what needs to be burnt until all that’s left is You! I want to look like my Daddy. I want to sound like my Daddy. I want to represent my Daddy well.

  21. Ashley Thomas says:

    I love the last paragraph of the devotion today! It rings true for me and my feelings about the world today. I often feel very overwhelmed at how far the world has traveled away from God. I send my children to private Christian schools because the public schools in my city are overrun with sex, drugs and violence. I feel like I am holding that hammer and fighting to build the kingdom every single day. I won’t give up!

  22. Rhonni_l S says:

    I’m reminding myself today that I am God’s special possession & will bask under His wonderful light. What beautiful certainty we have in this promise. Blessings to yiu all xx

  23. Sharon W says:

    Such encouraging words “Keep building the spiritual house in the midst of this world. Do not grow weary…our building is not in vain. With Jesus as our cornerstone, we are the beginnings of building

  24. NanaK says:

    Today I took note of all the action verbs in our reading, and they are numerous. I have been given clear direction on “how” to be the builder He has called me to be and “where” to find the strength to tackle the tasks that are given to me. And, as I do these things, ” I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise will always be on my lips.” Ps 34:1

    Thank you for this encouraging devotion today. I pray each of you will feel our Lord’s loving arms around you today as you tackle the tasks before you.

  25. Chinoise Jacobs says:

    Despite frustrations and pit stops, the Lord is taking me higher. Today’s passage is proof of that. Keep building. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

  26. Jessica Hernandez says:

    The enemies weapon against me is fear of others’ opinion. I let him bully me into being quiet or not fully speaking up on the truth. Today’s devotion cleared that up for me. I have been chosen. I belong to the Lord. I must face the opposition and speak up and out for Him. I am blessed knowing I am not alone. Thank you!!

    1. Natasha R says:

      This is the enemy’s weapon against me too! I’m thankful to know I’m not alone in this battle. ❤️

  27. Churchmouse says:

    This is why I love Bible study /prayer groups. I can feel so alone at times, as if I’m facing the enemy with my lone hammer. Then I get out of my house (virtually here and also physically in my city) and gather with “two or more” and I see fellow construction workers, on their knees, Bibles open and I am reminded I never stand alone. There are fierce determined warriors of the King everywhere and victory is assured. May we not ever grow weary of wielding our tools to build His kingdom. Lives depend on it.

    1. Rhonni_l S says:

      So blessed to be sharing this wonderful journey with you Churchmouse x blessings to you today x

  28. Kristen * says:

    Wow! What a passage today. God has been laying this whole New York abortion law heavy on my heart. The shedding of innocent blood. And we are His chosen people in enemy territory and wow is this hammer ever so heavy and feels ever so impossible to fight against and change. But God is our strength and as Christians we need to build His kingdom and do what we can. Rather than sitting by on the sidelines and hating that this is “ok” in this world, I need to be His living stone.

  29. Angie says:

    In the last few days God has been working on me in regards to loving my enemies and specifically, praying for them. If you would have asked me last week, I would have told you I didn’t think I was holding anyone as an enemy. But God, He has revealed seeds of bitterness in my heart and mind. So, at 2:30 this morning, when I woke, thinking about my students and frustrated with a parent in particular, I prayed for them. For people, very close, who have been cruel or hurt me, I pray and I deeply love them.

    I try to read a book by A.W. Tozer each day with short devotions to think about. Today’s titled, “Stricter Discipline for God’s Willing Children.” Hebrews 12:11 “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…” One (frightening, if I am honest) part reads, “To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your heart everything you love most. Every thing you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be.” I don’t know what that means in my today, but if I am holding myself, others, things, position between my heart and Christ, then my heart needs surgery.

    Every time my thoughts touch on the enemy that surrounds, I will pray that they will know the blessings of God’s peace and presence in their lives. When the enemy of pride or value of things encroaches I ask God to give me strength to lay them down and trust Him.

    God’s holy people – me, definitely a work in progress.
    So thankful for the Cornerstone
    I am unworthy
    yet loved
    May I give that same love out.
    Only in Your strength and power.

    1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Thank you for this Angie. So many things have happened recently in my life, but I need to

    2. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Thank you for your insight today Angie. I am struggling with some issues right now.

    3. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Wow. I wondered where what I typed went to. Sorry. I just wanted to say that I appreciate your insight today. I am learning to trust my Lord even through everything falling down around me. What can I do but trust in Him and praise Him? He’s my Rock.

    4. Shawn Parks says:

      So much of your experience and your thoughts mirror my own. Be encouraged. He promises to never leave us while He shapes us into His image. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Thank you for sharing!

    5. Rhonni_l S says:

      Thanks for your spiritual insight – it spoke to my heart this morning xx

    6. Peyton Young says:


  30. Jeannie Burrus says:

    I love the comparison of our persevering in the Christian life in the midst of a hostile culture of death to building in enemy territory. May God grant each one of us the strength to persevere and not grow weary as we strive to live for Him in the challenging circumstances of our lives.

  31. Lucy Goodwin says:

    Keep building! Build better and more disciples.

  32. Steph C says:

    “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander … that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:1, 9).
    He brought me:
    Out of darkness, into light
    Out of bondage, into freedom
    Out of despair, into hope
    Out of sorrow, into joy
    Out of sin, into discipleship.
    He calls me to obedience, to holiness, to a relationship, to fellowship. Fellowship that is marred when I sin. But He gives grace! We have the only God who tells us what to do, helps us do it, and then rewards us for doing it.

  33. Terrisa Stewart says:

    Growing weary is definitely a common trend as a Christian woman in a world and culture where going against the norm means you are not cool. Cool being a relatively subjective term. But I have learned that I do not seek the approval of my peers as much as I seek my own approval.

  34. Kristen says:

    This teaching goes with another teaching I read today: @First5App @Proverbs31org I live in a farmhouse built in 1861. Some of the walls have cracks and a door will occasionally stick, but it is standing remarkably well considering its age.http://www.first5.org/plans/Proverbs/ff_proverbs_28.
    This teaching is from Proverbs and talks about building our house/ lives. So much wisdom. Please read it if you can.