ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUST

1Pe 2:11-12  “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

How do we feel about our brothers and sisters in Christ? I’m not just speaking of the precious people we worship with each week. What is our feeling toward the “resident foreigners,” brothers and sisters in Christ that we may not know and may never meet in this life? We know from all Peter has said to them up to this point that they are beloved of God. Here, Peter addresses them as “dearly beloved.” This shows Peter’s heart for strangers scattered across a large region; many people that he would never know personally.

Still, they were so precious to Peter that he would lay hold on an opportunity to strengthen them through the word of God and encourage them in their walk with the Divine Expression! It is important, as believers, that we understand that our fellowship is much larger than our “home” church, much larger than our denomination, and much larger than the country we live in. We have brothers and sisters all over the world who are strangers and pilgrims in this land. Our love for them should be such that we would offer encouragement in the Lord to them at every opportunity and pray for them as diligently as we do ourselves and those with whom we worship on a regular basis.

We all face a battle. Everyone of us have carnal desires (fleshly lusts) that war against our souls. This lust can have many forms. It may be sexual in nature or it may be that we lust after money. We may lust after power or position. We can even lust (have an unhealthy desire) for our children to be advanced above others. The simple truth is, anything we desire so much that it takes away from our time with, and service to, God wars against our souls.

This is not to say that we are in danger of losing our eternal life. However, we will give up our peace in pursuit of our lust. We will behave in an ungodly manner before those we encounter in our daily living. They will have occasion to speak evil of us because we are not demonstrating the love of God in our lives.

We are instructed to guard against lust not just for our own sakes. If we do not let other desires take president over our love for God, then we will have a godly influence on those around us. Our behavior (conversation) will be such that, even though they may not speak well of us at first, they will nonetheless recognize our deeds wrought in God when He visits them. They will glorify God, even for the things they may have once considered you evil in doing.

Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to resist the urge we have sometimes to want to prove to the world we are right. Rather, let our desire be to serve God in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Let us desire to see visitation come on those who consider our godliness evil. Let us pray that, when visitation comes, we have walked in such a way that men will glorify God. Let us rejoice when God turns the hearts of men to Him; not in some sense that we have been vindicated, but simply because God turns the hearts of men to Him!

May we, this day, lay aside the things that war against our souls, do that which is right in the sight of God, and find great joy when He visits those who have scorned us and caused them to glorify them!

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