“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” — 1 Peter 2:11-12
In the book of Daniel, we read of the historical account of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. They were four Jewish boys taken into Babylonian captivity in 605 B.C. They were trained for three years in the ways of Babylon and given new Babylonian names (we may know them better as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, though Daniel’s Babylonian name of Belteshazzar wasn’t extensively used in the Bible).
These boys knew their true king wasn’t Nebuchadnezzar, but the God of Israel. They were strangers in a strange land. They knew the Promised Land was their true home. They were exiles — someone who is absent from their home, country or kingdom and living in another home, country or kingdom.
Every Christian has Heaven as their eternal and true home, which is why we are called exiles in 1 Peter 2:11. Earth is just our temporary home. We are absent from our true and eternal home. Jesus Christ left His home in Heaven, came to earth, and became an exile Himself (John 1:14). He did this so we could become exiles, so His home in Heaven could become our true and eternal home.
And now, as residents of another Kingdom, we are called to live under the authority of our new King, Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 2:11-12 (verse above), we find that as exiles we are to live differently than the people around us. We are to stay away from fleshly lusts which wage war against our souls.
So today, remind yourself that Jesus’ home is your home and you are an exile, called to live differently.
— Ikki Soma, former Houston Rockets chaplain
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