“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)
What comes to your mind when you think about where you are from? Your birthplace? Where the majority of your family is from? Where you spend most of your time? According to Peter, we are not from any of those places; we are sojourners and exiles in this world. A sojourner is someone who is passing through a place and an exile is someone who lives in a place that is not their true home. This world is a place that we are just passing through and is not our true home.
Even though we are not from here, we do spend a lot of time here, so it is easy to begin to adopt the habits and values of this world. We can chase things that fill our pride. We can pursue the lusts of our flesh. We can live by the values of selfishness and self-centeredness that permeate this world. But these things are in conflict with the values of heaven. They are not for the good of our soul, but wage war against our soul. So, how we combat the pull of this world is not merely trying harder to resist its temptations.
We shouldn't miss that Peter addresses his readers as “beloved.” It is the love of God that has made us exiles in this world. He came and died for us on the cross, called us to Himself, and promised to bring us home to Him. The way we resist the world's temptations is by remembering there is greater love in God than anything this world has to offer. As the beloved of God, we resist the temptations of this world and embrace our identity as exiles on our way home.
Question: How does knowing you are from heaven change how you think about your life on earth?
Challenge: Make it a part of your daily prayers to ask God to remind you that this world is not your home.
Prayer: God, help me to love you more than I love anything this world has to offer.
Jeff Boettcher, Chapel Leader -- Philadelphia Phillies