Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles in this world to abstain from
the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that
wage war against the soul
(1 Pt. 2:11, The Amplified Bible).
One of my all time favorite TV shows was one called "Perfect Strangers." In
it, two cousins decide to share an apartment in Chicago. The twist was that one of them
happened to be from a foreign country. The absurdity was that it was not only foreign, but
it was very strange in custom and culture. The show's hilarious antics often keyed on the
eccentric behaviors and beliefs of the one cousin's background in relation to the other's.
The amazing thing was that Balci, who was the foreigner, often was the one with the best
answers to the more important questions.
Peter tells us that as we belong to God, we are the strangers in the world. But what does
it mean to be a stranger? Most of us would agree that if we met someone like Balci, who
was from a land as different to ours as night is to day, that we could define a stranger
as: someone who stands out from the rest, as different, or peculiar. They would have
characteristics and customs unlike those of the people in whose land they now lived.
Often, one look bears the evidence of this fact.
If we as God's children are strangers in this land, then it should be evident. As others
look at us, they might notice that we have different choices in lifestyle, entertainment,
and desires from life. And not simply because they are choices, as much as it is because
of what's inside of us.
Balci's Meposian heritage simply shined through in every movement he made, every syllable
he uttered. He could not help but be who he was. He was born into a way of life, and that
life was ingrained in every part of his being.
We are much the same way. Our culture we are born into is very much a part of who we are.
It has become entangled within every fiber of our being. Our actions, our words, our
choices--all can indicate where we are from. But as Christians we are well aware of the
scripture that tells us we are to be born again. This would imply that we are born into a
new culture, one that is vastly different from the culture we previously were a part of.
We are born into a new way of life. But there is an old way of life that has become
ingrained into each of us. And to our own sorrow, many of us are strangers in Heavenly
lands because our ingrained worldly heritage seeps through. And to our pain, if we walked
the streets of gold today, we would be the ones who stood out as eccentric.
This is not to paint too dismal a picture. But if we are the strangers of this land, and
we are the children of Light; when one looks at us along side the world--the difference
should be night and day. We may seem very odd to those around us, but if we are the
reflection a heavenly land--then we are the ones who will know the answers to many of the
most important questions.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own
possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of the
darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pt. 2:9).