The overall theme of Pete’s letter is to remind the early readers of their hope in the midst of what they were suffering. The persecution of the church had begun under the reign of Nero and Peter wanted to strengthen the believers. There are many practical takeaways for us in 1 and 2 Peter as well as we try to live out our faith in a world that is becoming increasingly resistant to Jesus.
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 1 Peter 2:11-12
The verses above really spoke to me about what Rusty calls our secondary citizenship as Americans. Peter is reminding us that our primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God, regardless of where we physically live. And with that citizenship, comes a code of conduct that should make us easily identifiable to those around us. We are to live in such a way that others are drawn to Jesus because of what they see in us. That can be easier said than done.
Peter warns us to stay away from worldly desires that wage war against our souls. Other translations use the words sinful desires, sensual urges and passions of the flesh, but I like the way The Message says this the best: Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
This world is not our home and being comfortable here should not be our goal. This life is just a drop in the bucket in light of eternity. Life is really our training ground for what’s to come.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach