follow Jesus – #003

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

In various Bible versions, we read words like “pilgrims”, “temporary residents”, “foreigners”, as “sojourners” and “exiles” which appeared above. They all referred to people on the move towards a destination, but this destination in Peter’s message is to be the most important destination of our life.

Peter was addressing our goals and aims in this life which will translate to eternity.

How often we Christians get so busy with things in this life we forget our heavenly Father has an accommodation waiting for us. We forget our heavenly calling.

How often people who have the opportunity to emigrate gets so uptight about their choice of citizenship, in trying to aim for that particular passport which provides the most privileges and protections, and if they can have more than one passport the better.

More people are planning for multiple retirement homes, not for the homeless but for themselves, and in excess of needs.

 

As pilgrims what are our thoughts? What do we look forward to? What is of importance to us? What is of value to us? What do we concern ourselves with?

The life of a pilgrim is a journey, and our life as a pilgrim is in our journey with Jesus, the Shepherd of our Soul.

In our pilgrimage with Jesus, we have an important destination – to be home with our heavenly Father as Jesus is at home with the Father, and we need to move in this pilgrimage as according to His timing and planning.

Important point is – Our residences here on earth is temporary, our residences with Jesus and our heavenly Father is eternal.

The Apostle Paul made a more zealous statement about his pilgrimage –

I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:23-26)

Paul sounded like he was deliberately making it obvious to the Philippians church he was having a difficult time because of them, but his point was to remind the church to continue, to stand firm and to grow in their journey of faith in Jesus.

 

Let’s consider Jesus’ pilgrimage here on earth and we can learn a thing or two.

That period of time while Jesus was here on earth as recorded in the Gospels, He was on a pilgrimage to do the will of the Father.

That period of time while Jesus was here on earth as recorded in the Gospels, He was on a pilgrimage to obey the will of the Father.

That period of time while Jesus was here on earth as recorded in the Gospels, He was on a pilgrimage to keep His unity with the heavenly Father.

 

Likewise our pilgrimage here on earth will have that same purpose and destiny.

We are on a pilgrimage to do the will of the Father.

We are on a pilgrimage to obey the will of the Father.

We are on a pilgrimage to be united with the Father.

 

In truth and reality, our pilgrimage, our very own personal pilgrimage had not been on a straight direct course for all sorts of reasons, but we need to continue to keep our focus on Jesus.

Our pilgrimage may take us through dark corners where enemies await to do harm for reasons we were not aware of and in our pilgrimage we will surely cross path with all kinds of people.

People are of different shape and sizes, people are of different minds, people have different taste, but we all have one thing in common, we have passion and desires.

Birds of the same feathers flock together, people of the same passion travel on the same route.

But somehow human passion and desire always have that common and familiar situation – remember the image of a girl who talks to herself “He loves me,” and she picks one petal off a flower, and she said “He loves me not,” and pick another petal off the same flower. She repeats that over and over till the last petal gets picked off, after which, chances are she would grab another flower and do the same again and again.

 

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)

Our human souls have desire.

We are on a pilgrimage, and every time we encounter a crossroad, we need to check the desire of our hearts.

Imagine a deer going through dense forest and predators’ territory, in search of water. We will go through rough edges in our life, but what are we aiming for?

It is easy to lose our way; and it is difficult to keep our focus.

In all difficult situations, we know there are things in our life we just have to let go if we are to continue in our pilgrimage with Jesus.

passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul…

Peter was warning us about a kind of warfare going on among us.

Peter was warning us about a kind of conflict which will disrupt our pilgrimage with Jesus.

It’s a kind of conflict we need to resolve within ourselves.

It’s a kind of conflict we need to make up our mind how to overcome.

It’s a kind of conflict we need to make that personal decision because that “war zone” is deep within us.

 

But why does it matter? Because passion and desire deals with what we love, and love relationship between two living personalities can only continue in good mutual agreement.

Jesus had declared His love for us through what He had done for us, and Jesus need a response from us every day.

Lest we forget, when we lose that love and desire for Jesus it does not means we have no more passion and desires. It means we’ve turned our attention to something else.

People have passion and desire because we are created with passion and desire. Some people will try to kill that passion and desire but a better way to address it – is to check our hearts’ desire, do we truly love Jesus enough to continue this pilgrimage with Him.

In our pilgrimage, what keeps us going is our continuous desire to love Jesus.

In our pilgrimage, what keeps us going is our faithful desire to be with Jesus.

 

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

Peter was warning us about any conflict and warfare which will swing our desire and attention away from Jesus to something else.

Remember, our residences here on earth is temporary, our residences with Jesus and our heavenly Father is eternal.

Peter was warning us about any conflict within us, within our own self, which will cause a reverse of priority and a change of destination.

 

FOLLOW CHRIST TODAY