July 23, 2023
A very famous quote goes something like this, “Preach the gospel and if necessary, use words.” The quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, and it is and excellent statement. We need to be doers of the word, and not just hearers only. As Christ followers, we are called to both share the gospel verbally AND to live out the gospel in our everyday lives. Our lives should both SOUND like and LOOK like Jesus. The big question today is, does my life display the value and actions of a genuine Christ follower? I Peter 2:11-12 gives us some help. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. First, Peter reminds us we are called to live differently than the world. Then he reminds us we are pilgrims during our time on earth. Then he adds the word sojourners to the description. The NIV and NASB use the terms aliens and strangers, while the NLT translates the descriptors as temporary residents and foreigners. These are all good descriptions of what Peter is trying to convey, because he wants to remind his readers that they are temporary visitors to this world. We too are temporary visitors. We wouldn’t expect foreigners to understand our language, customs, and habits. Often, foreigners are easy to spot because they dress, look, and act differently than natural citizens and it is easy to pick up on the fact that they “ain’t from around here”. Similarly, as Christ followers, we are called to live our lives counter-culturally. Everyone SHOULD be able to see a difference in the lifestyle of a Christ follower and the lifestyle of an unbeliever. As Christ followers, we have been born again as heavenly citizens living in an earthly world. How do we do that? Paul tells us to “Abstain” (Keep away from) from some things. There are things we are to avoid and keep away from. Keep away from what? “Fleshly lusts” (fleshly desires, fleshly passions). The flesh is anything that is contrary to the nature of God. In Scripture, the flesh is always negative and against God’s will. Y’all, if we are going to win a lost world to Jesus Christ, we are going to have to show them something better, no, we are going to have to SHOW them SOMEONE better, and that Someone is Jesus Christ.
Be blessed and go be a blessing . . . Bro. Andy