Strangers In the World
Father God, You created this world and called it good. I praise You for the wonderful works of Your hands!
Read 1 Peter 2:11-25
 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,  or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.  Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.  Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.  For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”  For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat are some of the ways Peter urges us to live?
From time to time asylum-seekers share our house. Usually, they are hoping to be granted UK citizenship. It’s always difficult for them to work out how to live in the meantime. They know that they won’t be with us long. They have very few rights under the law. Because of this many of them have become victims of abuse and injustice, just as much as they were in their countries of origin. Their position is always insecure, always vulnerable. Several of them have become our dear friends. Peter addressed the early Christians as asylum-seekers–people living in a hostile culture that didn’t welcome or understand them. They were insecure and vulnerable. Peter called them his “dear friends.” He tried to help them to cultivate a lifestyle that would make their “in-between-ness” bearable. They should live lives of submission and be free at the same time. They should follow the example of Jesus (21). He was treated unjustly, but he didn’t retaliate. More than that, the suffering that Jesus endured has become their passport to heaven (24). Christians are citizens of heaven and asylum-seekers on earth. We shouldn’t expect this to be a life of security but, instead, of patience, submission and good deeds.
Who are the people you know who are away from home and family? Is there anything you can do to support them?
Lord God, I want to live a life that pleases You here on earth but even more to be one who lives as a citizen of heaven.
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