THE LIFE AND TESTIMONY OF
STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
5. PILGRIMS ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS
Peter pleaded with the believers in 1 Peter 2:11: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
Jesus prayed for the believers yet to be born: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world “ (John 17:14-16).
The apostle John also pleaded with the believers: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but here that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
When we give one inch to fleshly lusts, they war against our soul. They hinder us on our pilgrim walk. We must get into the habit of saying No to the flesh, and Yes to the life of Jesus Christ who lives in us and walks with us.
6. PILGRIMS LIVE IN THE FEAR OF GOD
1 Peter 1:17 says: “And if ye call on the Father who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” The English Standard Version says: “Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.”
This Scripture describes God as both Father and Judge. He is our loving, approachable, compassionate Father, but He is also Judge. The judgment of God also reveals His love for us. If there was no judgment upon our lives, there would be no safety and we would end in destruction.
There are many folks who only want to experience God’s love. There are others who only talk about the judgment of God. Both are wrong for we must embrace God as both loving Father and loving Judge. It is this understanding that causes us to walk in the fear of the Lord while we sojourn on this earth. We walk in fear before our Father because we do not want to hurt Him or displease Him. We walk in fear before Him as Judge because we know that sin is so hateful to Him. He sent His beloved Son from Heaven to die and to take the punishment we deserved because of our sin.
Do we have this relationship with God? Do we walk in fear of displeasing Him? Do we walk in fear of being deceived and falling into sin because we know we are only human? Alexander Maclaren writes about this fear: "A lowly consciousness of the heinousness of sin, and consequently a dread of offending the Divine holiness. He who thus fears, fears to sin more than anything else, and fears God so much that he fears nothing besides." He also writes: "The strongest needs to fear; the weakest, fearing, is safe. For such fearfulness is indispensable to safety . . . The only safety for any of us is ever to be on the watch, and to dread our own weakness."
F. B. Meyer writes of this Scripture: “The holy soul realizes this; and a great awe falls upon it and overshadows it--an awe not born of the fear which hath torment, but of love. It passes the time of its sojourning in fear. Not the fear of evil consequences to itself, but the fear of grieving the Father; of bringing a shadow over his face; of missing any manifestation of his love and nearness to Himself, which may be granted to the obedient child. Love casts out fear; but it also begets it. There is nothing craven, or fretful, or depressing; but a tenderness of conscience which dreads the tiniest cloud on the inner sky, such as might overshadow for a single moment the clear shining of the Father's face. So the brief days of sojourning pass quickly on, and the vision of the Homeland beckons to us, and bids us mend our pace.” I pray that I will walk with “a tenderness of conscience which dreads the tiniest cloud on the inner sky.” Is this your prayer too?
Blessings from Nancy Campbell
“Dear Father in Heaven, please save me from being captivated with the worldly things of this life--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Please remind me each new day that I am only a stranger in this world and doing the will of God is the only thing worthwhile. Amen.”
I’m walking in God’s fear
Along this pilgrim way,
His presence brings me cheer
Even when skies are gray.