The first few verses of this reading challenge readers to desire those things that bring growth and spiritual maturity. The rest of the reading speaks to our identity as followers of Christ, the foundation of our hope. It is interesting to note that verse 9 has been (and in some cases, continues to be) taken out of context and used to support racism, slavery, and genocide. We, as Christians, must resist the temptation to pull one verse out of an entire passage to support our ideas. Instead, read on the whole, this passage points us to understand our connection to all people as vital in building up the kingdom of God.
How might embracing your identity as beloved, forgiven, and accepted help you to affirm that same identity in others – especially those who do not profess faith in Jesus Christ?
In prayer, ask for God’s help in embodying the love, mercy, and compassion that Jesus showed.