by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Peter's first epistle is addressed to "strangers in the world," who have their homeland in heaven. They are not surprised that they suffer when they do what is right. They follow the footprints of Jesus.
1 Peter 2:11–12
I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul (1 Pet. 2:11).
The biblical understanding of such words as flesh and soul is a bit different from our usual understanding of these terms. We tend to divide a person into material and immaterial parts, calling the first "flesh" and the latter "soul." But that's not what the Bible means.
In the Bible a human being is one unit that includes heart, brains, flesh, and bones. Within this one person, particularly if he or she is a Christian, are two forces: flesh and soul. The flesh is the pull of the old, sinful life, and the soul is the inner redeemed life.
The elect of God are between two worlds. And within them the same two worlds are at war. The more attached they become to God and his kingdom, the more they become strangers to the present world. Christians have different goals than worldly people. And they have their own ideas about what it means to have a good time.
People who don't know God follow the desires of the flesh. While those who do know God are aware of these sinful urges, they suppress them or try to convert them into something good. In all Christians a war is being waged, and their lives are the battlefields.
Sometimes we get tired of being "strangers in the world." But then we encourage each other to sing a pilgrim's song. We remind ourselves that we walk to the sound of a different drummer. We may be out of step with this world, but we're in tune with our heavenly Father.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version