How Living Stones Live
1 Peter 2:11-12
11Beloved, 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.
Over 34 years ago, my husband and I were returning home after a week of vacation. When we passed into the city limits we looked at one another and both said, “Ah nuts. We’re home.” We no longer belonged there. It was time to move into the next phase of our lives together. Neither of us were surprised as over the next 2 weeks, Cliff received on one but three different calls to move into a different ministry opportunity. We took one of those calls and are still in that church today. We had become strangers in a strange land. What we know from these two verses is that none of us actually home here on earth. We are sojourners and exiles, passing through this life as beacons of the Gospel until we reach our final destination – eternity with the Lord. And we all know that life here is far from perfect, because we have an ever-present enemy seeking to drag us astray.
People who learn to see themselves as just passing through their earthly lives are training themselves to think long-term. Satan owns short-term gratification. Everything that slimy son of hell has to offer is for now. Rage, hatred, sexual lust, drug and alcohol hunger, all want to be gratified now, and who cares about the future? But long-term thinking ponders the consequences of present actions. As Christians grow in maturity, they learn to say no to the lure of immediate gratification if it will hurt them or other people or their relationship to the Lord down the line.
Jeske, M. A. (2002). James, Peter, John, Jude (p. 95). Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House.
That doesn’t mean we hate this life, for it is filled with joys and blessings. God has chosen that we should be here and so we shall embrace it. But we can do that as wise followers of Jesus Christ rather than the hapless patsies of the evil one. One of Satan’s best weapons against us is the lure of instant gratification. It is so prevalent that many of us have lost our hold on the long-game. I believe I can write about this with integrity, for I know what it means to be gripped by the enticements of instant gratification. I also believe our entire culture lives in that same neighborhood. Peter urges us here to make a better choice.
Keeping our conduct honorable isn’t always easy and many today will make fun of those who do. The saying goes, “misery loves company” (John Ray, 1627–1705) and I believe that sinners love company as well. If we’re all down there wallowing in the mud, who cares, right? God places a higher calling on the lives of His people. We are to live honorable lives that speak of His great love and in so doing, serve as a witness to all who do not love God (yet). When Jesus returns, I pray that He finds me invested in doing something that bring Him glory and joy.