Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1

Dear People Who Keep Company With God,

God says many things about us that can change how we view ourselves and our outlook on life. But the essential thing you need to know is that you are a child of God. The most profound encounters and revelations I’ve experienced all involved God revealing Himself to me as Abba Father. There’s a world of difference between being a creation of God and knowing you are His very own dearly loved and accepted son or daughter. It changes your relationship with God and your life in many beautiful ways and enables you to become the person He had in mind before you were formed in your mother’s womb.

Peter’s use of both his names reveals how our identity develops as we get to know God as our Father. Simon comes from a Hebrew word meaning reed. A reed is shaky, hollow, and unstable, but Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means stone. Stones supply strength and stability. Jesus spoke this identity shift two times to Simon, at the beginning of His ministry and towards the end (John 1:42, Matthew 16:18). God often gives people new names that don’t initially seem to fit. For example, He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, “father of many nations,” when he was 75. Isaac was born 25 years later. It also took some time and help from Jesus for Simon to become Peter. And the writers of Scripture didn’t hide anything about Peter’s failures or weaknesses in those defining years. He was as fully human as any of us, but neither his humanity nor failures disqualified Him from becoming all God designed him to be.

Simon Peter’s name also combines the fact that he was a bondservant and an Apostle. For Peter, Paul, and other early Church leaders, their ministry was not a career but a mission. They understood that the most Christ-like leaders in the Kingdom of God are the greatest servants. They were servants first and then leaders. Being an Apostle didn’t mean Peter should no longer serve. Being a servant didn’t mean sacrificing leadership, power, and authority. Jesus is the King of all kings and the Servant of all.

We are called to take on the role of a bondservant. Servanthood is about our assignment, not our identity, although it can help affirm our identity. In God’s eyes, you are a loved son or daughter. On earth, you are to be a servant. Your gifts and calling help to define the primary ways you are called to serve. Being a child of God includes serving, but serving does not guarantee a healthy relationship with the Lord. When you find your identity in what you do, your confidence depends upon your performance. But when you see your identity in being loved and accepted by the Father, your well-being is based on His view of your true identity. Let your relationship with the Father have priority; from that shift, your serving and calling will flow supernaturally.

Knowing God as your Father will open your eyes to who you are and why you are here. When you have confidence that you are a dearly loved son or daughter of God, as Jesus was and is, you will “keep increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52) And like Peter, despite your failures, disappointments, and weaknesses, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you will become everything He has called you to be.

Many Blessings, BW

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