This world is not our home. We don’t have a home here, anywhere in this world. We don’t “have” a country. So we must not get comfortable here
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.
There are many warnings in the Bible not to grow attached to this fallen world, or to follow its ways. Romans 12:2 and 1 John 2:15-17 are the most famous. But there’s another warning in 1 Peter 2:11-12, and I cherish it because of how it warns us. The word choice is so effective and informative.
1 Peter 2:11-12 gives us a very simple, straightforward warning: This world is not our home.
And this is great news for us. Look around at the chaos of this fallen world. Do you want this to be your true home? We can enjoy peace in knowing that our true home is in Heaven with Christ, it’s not here on earth. But 1 Peter 2:11-12 also goes a bit further. It also tells us how our knowledge that this world is not our home can benefit others, even nonbelievers!
So that’s the topic for today. Let’s get into it.
We Aren’t Home yet—Don’t Get Comfy!
Listen up, fellow Christians: We don’t have a home here, on this planet. We’re homeless.
So don’t get comfortable here on earth. Always be ready to leave this world at a moment’s notice.
It’s that simple.
This teaching is found in 1 Peter 2:11-12. Now, this is one of those times when the Bible translation we use can drastically change the impact on the reader and the meanings. So let’s first look at The Message (MSG) translation of this passage. The Message phrases this idea in what I say is the best possible way: “This world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.”
(11-12) 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.1 Peter 2:11-12 (MSG)
Never forget: “This world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.” I can’t say it any better than that, and I don’t need to. It continues on to tell us to fight our flesh and live good lives while here on earth. I’ll come back to that in a moment. First, let’s look at this same quote in the CEB translation that I normally use on this blog:
(11) Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. (12) Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.1 Peter 2:11-12 (CEB)
OK, so there’s that. The message is clear:
This world is not our home. We don’t have a home here, anywhere in this world. We don’t “have” a country. So we must not get comfortable here—we must not get attached to this world.
And why is this?
For one thing, this sinful, fallen world is opposed to what we’re trying to do as Christians, both individually and as a group. This fallen world, with its enjoyable and stimulating pleasures, is always there trying to tempt us to indulge in these pleasures. To seek out worldly pleasures instead of seeking out God. To indulge the appetites of our flesh, instead of denying our flesh to become more Spiritual. This world is a false, temporary one oriented toward the flesh. But as Christians we know that our true goal is an eternal, Spiritual life with Jesus Christ. What we seek goes against this fallen world and its ways. This is why verse 11, above, tells us to fight temptation and the desires of our flesh. That’s something the world isn’t interested in.
The MSG says “Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” The ‘ego’ in this case is our flesh and its desires. This translation makes it clear that we risk our soul if we indulge our flesh. The CEB says “I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives.” This translation makes it clear that we are in a war against our flesh and its desires. Because these worldly desires are what will make us grow attached to this fallen world, falling in line with the world and falling out with God. But since they tempt us so much, we have to be dead serious in our effort to deny ourselves and what the flesh wants. It truly is a war, because we’re going to be tempted by our flesh every single day, in many situations.
And this is the real war we’re called to fight every day: The war against ourselves. We must battle our own flesh, our own minds, our own sins. Christians know that true, everlasting pleasure awaits us in Heaven. This world seeks to trap us with its seductive, short-lived pleasures. But we know our true end goal is receiving our eternal life in Heaven with Christ Jesus. And so we fight hard to ensure that we keep our priorities straight, and that we don’t grow attached to this fallen, temporary world.
Growing attached to this world will cause us to lose this war. We must remember that we have no home here, and not grow attached to any place in this world. Our loyalty is with Christ, and our true home is in Heaven. To get there we need to obey God and fight this Spiritual battle against our flesh, our mind, and our sins. We can’t do this if we indulge in the pleasures of this world and follow its ways.
The most famous warning about becoming too attached to this world is in 1 John 2:15-17.
(15) Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. (16) Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.1 John 2:15-17 (CEB)
The world’s ways are not our ways. The people of the world don’t care to deny their flesh. All they see are the pleasures of this world, right in front of them. And they don’t see any reason why not to enjoy them. So they enjoy the worldly pleasures freely, falling more in tune with their flesh nature and weakening their Spirit. They become attached to this dying, temporary, fallen world and the short-lived pleasures we can enjoy here. As they grow more attached to this temporary world, they become further separated from our eternal God.
That’s a tragedy, because as 1 John 2:17 says, this world and its pleasures are passing away. They don’t last. Even worldly people know they don’t last. That’s why they get trapped in an endless cycle of seeking out more and more of these pleasures. Since they don’t last, the pleasure-seeking people of the world always need to get more. And more. And more.
What a tragedy! If only they understood what they should really be pursuing with all that energy! The short-lived pleasures of this earth can never even hope to compare to the eternal pleasure and contentment waiting for us in Heaven. Heaven is what everyone should be focusing all their energy on. Not this world, or anything or any place in it. It’s sad to see so many people with their priorities out of whack.
But, as 1 Peter 2:12 says, that’s where we come in. There’s a reason why we’re called to live the way we do, refusing to copy the ways of this world.
An Example that Saves Lives
What happens when we live Righteously, instead of living how the world lives? What happens when we deny our flesh, instead of indulging our every appetite whenever these temporary cravings arise?
What happens is that we set a good example for others, one that can even win nonbelievers over to God’s side.
When nonbelievers see someone who is truly living out the Gospels to the best of their human ability … when they see someone who does their very human best to truly live as a Christian and not just talk about it, it’s a powerful example. It’s a powerful example that can even change the lives of others who try to follow it.
Now, why is this example so powerful? Because it’s so different from what the fallen world values. People tend to look for the easiest route to do things, and to avoid hard things.
Well, talk is cheap, but taking action is hard. Living as a Christian in this fallen world is one of the hardest things we could ever choose to do. It means we choose to reject the ways of this world we’re temporarily stuck in. It means we choose to take the harder option of rejecting the tempting pleasures of this world now, because we know we will enjoy true pleasures that last forever later, in Heaven. It takes determination to stick with this choice, because the world is always trying to tempt us away from it. Also, we stand out when we do this.
Well, people who stand out are easy to see. When someone is acting differently from the rest of the crowd, sooner or later the crowd will notice. They’ll watch what this person is doing.
People tend to respect anyone that’s genuine. People respect those who practice what they preach. If we preach the Gospel, we must live it too. It weakens our whole message if we preach detachment but then indulge in all the pleasures of the world same as anybody else. When we show by our actions that, yes, we are serious about denying the flesh, it gives us our credibility. This credibility makes our preaching more powerful.
And if we’re really serious about denying the flesh, people will be intrigued by us. Why is that? Think about why people indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. Why do people value these short-lived, momentary pleasures? In part it’s because this world is one of suffering and misery. People seek out these momentary pleasures for comfort, distraction, self-soothing, and other such reasons. They want some temporary pleasure to offset the pain of this life. They don’t understand that they’re looking in the wrong place for this comfort.
Those who deny the flesh soon come to find that true pleasure comes from following the LORD and living a Spiritual life, seeking out the Spiritual things of Heaven and ignoring the things of the world. The pleasure that this kind of life brings is contentment. Peace and contentment. When we live a Spiritual life of following the LORD, we have this inner peace and contentment. A major reason why we have it is because, in rejecting the world and its ways, we understand that whatever we do or don’t enjoy here in this world doesn’t matter. True, everlasting pleasure lies in our eternal life with God. And we are so blessed, we can enjoy bits and pieces of that even while we’re still here on earth. But only if we draw closer to God by rejecting the fallen world.
When we have that inner peace and contentment, it shows on the surface too. People take notice. Because this contentment manifests in things like: Optimism, happiness, calm, emotional stability, kindness to others, and more. In this chaotic world with all its catastrophic events, if we show this kind of peace and calm, people will definitely take notice. They’re going to ask how we do it, and why we can be so calm. They’re going to want to know where our sense of peace comes from, and why we aren’t afraid.
When people want to know these things, tell them! This is the potential power of our example. If we obey God’s Word and actually live consistently with it, our example will show others the hardships of a Christian life, but also the benefits.
And that’s what first gets people to listen: Seeing the benefits. Then they’ll keep listening if we’re genuine about living this Christian life. If we’re walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Our authenticity will back up our message to them.
So this is one of the reasons why 1 Peter 2 tells us to reject the world and not get comfortable here: We need to set an example. In the MSG, verse 12 tells us “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 […].” That’s what we want to happen when people see our example—we want them to come over to God’s side and start doing the same.
(11-12) […] 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.1 Peter 2:11-12 (MSG)
The CEB tells us to “Live honorably among the unbelievers.” We must be good and do good, even when the world around us isn’t. Even when the world around us values things that aren’t good. We must stand strong in our beliefs. And if we do, then on “the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.” They will follow a good, genuine example if they see one. Then they’ll be Saved!
(12) Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.1 Peter 2:12 (CEB)
In other words, the example of living a genuine Christian life is so powerful, it can lead even unbelievers to Christ. But we can’t create this powerful example if we follow the ways of this world.
Show Them the Way Home
There are many warnings in the New Testament not to follow the ways of this fallen world. Romans 12:2 and 1 John 2:15-17 are the most famous. But the phrasing and word choice of 1 Peter 2:11-12 is my favorite.
“This world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.”
How can we phrase it any better than that? That says all we need to say.
Don’t get attached to this world and its short-lived pleasures. All these pleasures are distractions, meant to trap us here in this dying world so that we never enjoy the true pleasures of our eternal life.
To avoid getting attached to this world (which includes getting attached to any specific place in the world), we must not live as the people of the world do. They focus on gratifying the momentary desires of their flesh. They constantly seek out the short-lived pleasures of the world for their entire life, stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to ease their pain and find some comfort down here.
But they’ve got it all wrong. True comfort—contentment—is not to be found here in this world or in the things of the world. True contentment can only be found in Christ. This is the comfort that lasts forever—we don’t need to keep chasing anything!
When we reject how the world tells us to live, ignore what the world says about what will make us happy, we become more happier and more Spiritual. We grow closer to God, and we can even enjoy bits and pieces of the true contentment Christ offers to those who love Him.
When we live a Spiritual life and start to enjoy its benefits, people notice. This chaotic world is now suffering the insanity of its final death throes, its final moments. When we remain calm, even in the face of the worst chaos, people want to know “what’s our secret.” They want to know how we can do that. Well, we can do that because we have our priorities right, and we live a life of seeking out the correct things—the things of Heaven (Colossians 3:2). We can do that because our vision is focused on our eternal LORD, not the insane chaos of this fallen world. We can do that because we know this world of chaos is not our home, and we’re only passing through—but we’re going to our true home soon.
People want the peace we enjoy, especially now in these crazy End Times. So … when people ask us how we do it, tell them! Tell everyone who asks that our peace and contentment come from Christ, and nowhere else. That’s why it lasts—it’s not temporary like the fake contentment we can get from any of the things of this world. When we back up what we say with the authenticity of a genuine Christian life, the example we give people is incredibly powerful. This example is so powerful, it can even lead nonbelievers to Christ.
This world is not our home. We can’t show anyone the way to our true home if we also get comfortable here in this fake one!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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