Key verse: 1 Peter 2:11
Big idea: We live in the world, but not for the world.
If you invite me over to your house for chicken fried steak, fried okra, mashed potatoes, and hot cornbread (with butter, no sugar), then I will be a good guest in your house. I will not throw trash on the floor or punch holes in the sheetrock. But please do not expect me to dust the baseboards or repaint the spare bedroom. When we are somewhere that is not our home, we want to be good guests, but want to remember that it is someone else's home, not ours.
As Christians, the world is like that. We are exiles, so we should not fix our hearts on the things that distract us from eternity. "I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles," Peter wrote, reminding us of the tension that we live with. On one hand, we are strangers and pilgrims, so we should not be enticed by fleshly lusts. But on the other, we should keep our lifestyle pure before the world, so that we can serve as a witness. We must live well in the world, fulfilling our civic duties, showing honor and respect, and setting an example for the people around us. These are not things we do to try and make the world a better place; ultimately only the return of Jesus will do that in a way that matters. Instead, these are things we do as strangers to not make a mess while we are here, and to win an audience with those around us to point them to Christ.
Discussion idea: How might a Christian who is too concerned with this life behave? What about one who is not concerned enough?
Prayer focus: Lord, help me to see my life as a tool for your glory, not my comfort.