WE ARE ALL HOMELESS
1 Peter 2:11-12
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep 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.
Peter has reminded his readers of their identity in terms of their relationship with God… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people of his own possession. Now he shifts to their remind them of their identity in terms of their relationship with the world in which they are currently living. He calls them “sojourners and exiles” living “among the Gentiles”.
Followers of Christ find their identity in Christ and their home is in heaven. During our time left here on earth we are all homeless like people in exile in a foreign land like the readers of this original letter. He goes on to apply it in terms of being dropped behind enemy lines and in a battle for our souls.
The situation begs a couple questions: As exiles in a foreign place with upside-down values what should we expect to happen? How should we then live?
Peter says to expect war on your soul and opposition from the outside. The cultural influences will “war against” your soul and people will “speak against” you. Don’t expect to fit in nor to be popular. We come from a different country… we are a chosen race… racism is a thing. We are a holy nation in an unholy environment.
How should we then live? Abstain from the temptations to dishonor your God and do good deeds that will honor him. In a sentence: Don’t live to please your personal passions but live to serve God by loving others well.
Meditate on what it means to be an exile in a foreign land hostile toward your people? What things do you need to distance yourself from and what things do you need to dedicate yourself to?
“Father, help me to abstain from self-serving ways and sinful passions that are prevalent and valued in this world. Remind me every day that I am from another place with different core values. Rather than expending my energies trying to fit into a place I don’t belong may I focus my heart, mind, and strength on loving others well by serving them not manipulating them for my self-interest.”