25 December 2015
Merry Christmas, Friends! May this be a blessed season for you and those you love! Grace and Peace from Jim and Jean Stephens
Reading: 1 Peter 2; Psalm 149
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT)
During the almost two decades Jean and I lived and served overseas as missionaries it was so much easier, as Peter challenges us, to live in this world as “temporary residents and foreigners.” Even though we remained in each of our overseas assignments for several years, we were always “resident aliens”, and we knew that one day we would be leaving to move to another country or return to the USA. This made it easier to avoid entanglements of property and possessions.
Now that we’ve settled back in the USA, in Oregon, the state we were both born in, and we have family nearby and have re-connected with old friends from “before” and are living in our own very comfortable home here in Bend, it’s becoming more and more difficult to see ourselves as “temporary residents” in a foreign land! It’s too easy to get too comfortable!
I don’t want to make myself cozy in this world at the cost of “eternity awareness.” I don’t want to become entangled in this world at the expense of my soul and the souls of others. It’s so easy to focus a disproportionate amount of my time, my attention, and my energy on my house, my car, my stuff, and my comfort!
I’m not saying I want discomfort or sacrifice for its own sake, like a self-martyr kind of thing that makes me proud to suffer, but neither do I want to lose my perspective of short time here versus long time of eternity. How are you doing with the “Living wisely and un-entangled in this world” struggle?
Father, Please forgive me for the times I allow short-term values and “this world” entanglements to hinder me from living with an eternal perspective. Help me keep my values true and my perspective right. As Peter wrote, I want my values to show in my daily living and I want my daily life to be a Good News Missionary message to the “natives” in my home town. Amen.