12/20/15 Strangers in a Temporary Land

READING: 1 Peter 1-5

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  The images in the Bible are sometimes so dramatic that our best response is simply to meditate on them a bit. The book of 1 Peter, which is today’s Bible reading, recurrently paints one of those images: we who are God’s people are actually aliens and strangers in this world; that is, this world is not really our home.  

For example, look at how Peter describes his letter’s recipients: he calls them “temporary residents” (or “exiles”) in 1 Peter 1:1 because though they were suffering persecution, they needed to realize that their home was elsewhere. Their true home was in the world to come. Later, he echoes the same idea by calling them “strangers and temporary residents” (1 Peter 2:11). 

Not only are Peter’s readers “aliens” in this world, but they also follow a God they cannot see: "You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). 

That’s who we are today. This world is not our home. We're simply wandering through this land on the way to our final destination. Thus, the “stuff” we work to secure really doesn’t matter much. All the possessions we hold so tightly are only temporary things — attachments to this world that won’t last. Rather than live for stuff, we’re called to serve a God we cannot see, to rejoice with great joy because we believe this God is saving us. 

We’re people who are just “camping out” here until the God who saves us calls us home. Pitch your tent here, but don't put the stakes down too deeply.   

ACTION STEPS:  Today — particularly as you prepare for Christmas this week — think twice before emphasizing stuff that doesn’t matter. Choose to hold things lightly because this place is not our home.  

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for the promise of heaven. Help me to live with heaven in mind, even being willing to suffer like Peter’s readers did if I must for Your glory.  The suffering won’t matter if I’m just a pilgrim here anyway.”