Today’s Bible reading is Esther 3 and 1 Peter 2.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Pet 2:11)
You are at war today–you, as an individual, whether you recognize it or not. In fact, you were born into a world at war–an ancient, ongoing war. Human hearts are the battleground and yours is no exception. War has been declared “against your soul.”
That’s rough news for a Monday morning. Want some good news? Look at the first word in 1 Peter 2:11. “Beloved.” You are loved. You aren’t in this war alone. The Savior and King who is leading his disciples to victory is “clothed in a robe dipped in blood” (Rev 19:13)–his own blood, shed for those he loved enough to ransom. He is the ultimate Victor. Read his revelation. We’ve already been told how this war is going to end.
What matters in the meantime is that we pledge our allegiance to him, follow his lead, live with the mindset of “sojourners and exiles” and “abstain from the passions of the flesh” which are waging war against our souls.
And there’s the mindset we need as a new workweek begins. Our hearts are the battleground. War is being waged against our souls. Temptations will come in blatant and subtle ways this week, luring the passions of our flesh, enticing us to spurn our Savior and abandon our rightful King.
You are at war. Sexual immorality is waging war against your love and joy. Impurity and sensuality are waging war against your self-control. Idolatry is waging war against your faithfulness. Enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, rivalry, dissension, division, and envy are waging war against your gentleness, goodness, kindness, patience, and peace.
We’ve lost on those fronts before, but past defeats don’t have to define our present or destroy our future. Look to your conquering King, clothed in a bloody robe.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet 2:24-25)
Beloved, listen to his urgings today. Walk like a sojourner and exile this week. This world is not your home, don’t act like it is. Abstain from the passions of the flesh which can cost you your soul. Don’t be heaven-bound in theory. Live as a heaven-bound conqueror, set free by the blood of Jesus, standing strong in the strength that he supplies.