1 Peter 2:11-12, “11 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
As you know by now, the group of Christians Peter is writing to are literal sojourners and literal exiles. They have been dispersed from their homes because of their faith, and they find themselves in strange lands with strange customs. Peter warns these believers not to be led astray by the pagans among them. They are God’s chosen people- a royal priesthood (see yesterday’s article). As God’s people, they are to behave in a distinct manner. They are in a battle, and it is a battle for the soul.
Although we don’t know what it means to be a refugee-like those in the 1st-century church (and brothers and sisters around the world), we do know what it means to be sojourners/exiles spiritually. This world, as it is now, is not our home. This is not the new heavens and the new earth. We are waiting along with creation for all things to be made new (Romans 8:18-25). So, for now, we are sojourners and exiles. As sojourners/exiles, there is a spiritual war going on for our soul- not our eternity, but our enemies- the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2-3a) are looking to deceive us with sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:12-14). We must be on high alert. For we are ambassadors of Christ. What are some ways we can heed Peter’s call to abstain from passions of the flesh and keep our conduct honorable as sojourners and exiles in a foreign land?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Remember your union with Christ. In other words, re-read chapter one of 1st Peter and be reminded of your intimate relationship with Jesus. Allow that truth to permeate and animate all of you.
- Intake God’s Word through Sunday worship and daily private readings.
- Pray through the Psalms. For those struggling with their prayer life, God gives us His Word to pray through.
- Sing God-centered songs so that your soul may be comforted and satisfied in Him.
- Hate temptation. As believers, we should flee sin, but we must start at the level of temptation in order to overcome our sin.
- Meditate on your home- the new heavens and the new earth. The place where there will be no more serpent, sin, sickness, persecution, or death. We will be consumed with the worship of our Triune God, and it will be our joy.
- Make repentance and faith a daily discipline. This isn’t a one-time act at the moment of conversion. A believer’s life is marked by this coin- repentance/faith.
- Live in God-centered community. This is the commendation of the author of Hebrews in 3:12-14.