“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“As Strangers and Pilgrims”
(Please read 2 Corinthians 13:5)
In a small Denver community live some members of a conservative Jewish sect. They observe strict rules about diets and clothing. The boys attend school ten hours a day, six days a week, much of that time studying the Law of Moses. They don’t own television sets, as a rule, and don’t hang around fast-food places or shopping malls.
While we can’t agree with their continued adherence to the Law of Moses, we can admire their faithfulness in practicing what they believe. They are a minority among a people who themselves are in the minority, but they don’t seem concerned that others may think them odd.
Actually, we have much in common with these people. Religiously, we are usually in the minority wherever we live. While our predecessors in the church have not suffered persecution as continual as that inflicted on the Jews, we are spiritual descendants of Christians who willingly became martyrs for their faith. And with respect to public morals, we are part of a shrinking minority.
Peter’s warning in our text was to early Christians who had been uprooted from their homelands. He warned them, “as strangers and pilgrims,” to abstain from the lusts that generally brought the downfall of their neighbors. We can well accept that warning as our own, realizing that “fleshly lusts” cover not only the immoral activities of our age but also the pride that makes us want to be accepted and approved by those around us. Trying to be too much like our neighbors can be our downfall and that of our children — unless our neighbors are very much like Christ.