1 Peter 2: 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Anyone familiar with the elite tennis world will know the name Nick Bollettieri. He is an American tennis coach who developed the concept of a tennis boarding school; some of his tennis students have included: Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, to name a few. One of his publications is Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Handbook. A book review summarized what he called the “Four Keys to a Strong Athletic Foundation for Aspiring Tennis Players”. The four are:
- Wide base of support – learning to use the optimal footwork base of 1½ to 3 shoulder widths apart
- Low center of gravity – establishing your “athletic height”, which should be 6 – 12 inches below standing height
- Balance on the balls of the feet – learning to center your balance on the balls of your feet
- Reinforced back posture – intensely reinforced back posture efficiently channels power
Bollettieri explains that these are an essential athletic foundation for tennis athletes. In other words, they are the necessary foundation to become an elite tennis player. A player’s ability to get to a ball, their ability to hit with power and consistency, will depend on how well the athletic foundation was built.
In today’s scripture Peter uses a similar building metaphor.
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2: 4-5)
God connects Jesus, “the Living Stone” also known as the “Cornerstone”, with us as believers “like living stones”, for the purpose of building a spiritual house. This metaphor describes a secure, intimate relationship. The foundation of what God is building is his Son Jesus Christ, and in him is found “no blemish, no defect” (1 Peter 1:19). If you have ever built anything with bricks you will know that it is a pleasure to build off a smooth, solid foundation. Masonry foundations start with the cornerstone and all other stones are set in reference to this stone which determines the position of the entire structure.
Peter says the purpose of this building process is “to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (vs. 5b). If we choose to build on the foundation of Jesus, on his principles, if we choose to connect fully to him (also described as the vine in John 15), we are able to build solid lives, solid homes with him at the center.
I have noticed over the years, in myself and others, that you don’t really see what sort of foundation Christians have built until times of challenge. The more intense the challenge, the more noticeable the strength of the foundation. In Luke 6: 46-49 Jesus teaches that simply saying “Lord, Lord” (i.e. calling yourself a Christian) is meaningless. The key is hearing Jesus’ words and obeying them. Those who listen and obey are like the man with a deep foundation on rock whose house survives the storm. The one who hears the same words but chooses not to obey are like he who builds without a foundation and their house is swept away when the rain comes. Which house have you built? What is God calling you to do today?