Strangers and Pilgrims
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; ~1 Peter 2:11
Peter wrote this epistle to believers whose lives were uprooted by persecution. They had to leave their places of comfort and relocate to new areas, where they could find safety from persecution and suffering. They went from having stability to instability. They could not stay in any one place very long because of the intense pressures of being identified with the Christian faith. Peter called them strangers and pilgrims. Those names signify what we are in this world: strangers and pilgrims.
We see our reside.
The moment we are saved, we have changed our residency. We are citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). Paul said that our conversation, or citizenship, is in Heaven. This world is technically no longer our permanent home. As citizens of Heaven, there are markers that identify us. In addition to our country, there is our consecration. We are set apart as the people of God. We are a royal priesthood and a holy nation. The Bible says, “As he is, so are we in this world.” There is our calling. We are ambassadors of Christ and have been committed the ministry of reconciliation. Our goal is to bring men and women to Christ. We are contrasted from the world. We have different goals, desires, and responsibilities. We are to represent the country of Heaven.
We see our roaming.
Peter calls us strangers and pilgrims. Our status in this world is as foreigners. “Pilgrims” means we are travelers and wanderers. The songwriter said, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” We walk by faith and not by sight. We are not to get too attached to the things and lifestyle of this world because we are not here very long. Our focus is like Abraham: we look for a country whose Builder and Maker is God. The idea of a pilgrim is that he travels light and does not get burdened down with so many things that his travel is impeded.
We see our refusal.
Peter said to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Our fleshly cravings will desire to make our living here permanent, when it should be temporary. We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing out. Fleshly lusts are the things we want to accumulate, pursue, and set as our goals for this life. When our focus is on these things, we are distracted and lose sight of the fact that we are pilgrims. We are in a daily battle to get our roots in this world deeper or to keep our eyes looking upward. The story is told about some Christians who were traveling in the Middle East. They heard about a wise, devout, beloved, old believer, so they went out of their way to visit him. When they finally found him, they discovered that he was living in a simple hut. All he had inside was a rough cot, a chair, a table, and a battered stove for heating and cooking. The visitors were shocked to see how few possessions the man had, and one of them blurted out, “Well, where is your furniture?” The aged saint replied by gently asking: “Where is yours?” The visitor, sputtering a little, responded: “Why, at home, of course. I don’t carry it with me, I’m traveling.” “So am I,” the godly Christian replied, “So am I.”
Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ.” We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are pilgrims just passing through.
Have a Christ-centered God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 11-13