S – 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
O – It is important to remember that Peter is writing this letter in a time of great persecution upon the church. This letter is believed to be written in the AD 60′s under Caesar Nero’s reign. Ultimately, Paul and Peter would be executed under his reign. Thus, much of the tone of 1 and 2 Peter can be better understood if one considers that this letter is written to believers who are under trial, persecution and struggle for their faith.
In this chapter, Peter speaks to the believers about their call to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people set apart by God to declare His praises to a lost world in need of God’s salvation. Having declared the believers role to be God’s agents of restoration and light to the world, He exhorts the believers to “abstain from the passions of the flesh.” He gives two reasons why. First, even though feeding the flesh is pleasurable to our outer person, Peter declares that obeying the flesh wages war against our soul. How scary! Pleasing the flesh feels so good, yet to do so is to pull the trigger ourselves on the bombing of our own soul -Selah.
Second, he urges them to abstain from indulging the flesh because living by the Holy Spirit will produce a life that causes those who would come against them in ignorance to be changed to the faith by witnessing first hand their upright life. Many of those who are persecuting believers were doing so in ignorance. Peter believes that living the life of Christ by the power of the Spirit will cause many people to see the good of following Christ, and will themselves turn to Him when the Spirit visits their lives.
A – These verses speak powerful truth to me. It is so easy to be confused by the feeding of the flesh. Eating unhealthy foods, drinking, drugs, sexuality or operating in strong emotions like rage and anger, can all FEEL good. This is their deception, because they cause me to barometer good off of how I feel, instead of letting my good be determined by the Word of God or proper health. I have been indulging my flesh in terms of food too much. I need to understand that willfully engaging unhealthy foods or other things God says are wrong wages war against my soul. It’s not only what I may be eating or doing, it is my attitude. It is always unhealthy inwardly and outwardly when my attitude chooses to do wrong when I know the right.
I also learn today that when I choose to live by the Spirit and not feed my flesh it witnesses to those who are looking to see if faith in Christ is worth it. I am reminded of people who have told me at different season of my life, “Alex, I want what you have with God. I see your life and that you live out what you believe, and I see it works.” I need to tighten the reigns on different areas of my life for my sake and the sake of others.
P – Father, please help me to abstain from the indulgences of the flesh. Forgive me for not taking care of my body as I should. Please give me the strength day by day to stand in faith and take care of my body, mind and spirit so that I can be as effective for you as I can be. Help me to be an example to others to do the same. In Jesus name. Amen.