Our world thrives on material things. For some parts of the world, predominantly westernised nations, it is to consume and to consume some more. For other parts of the world, predominantly the two-thirds majority world, the idea of such a life and existence is the dream which is flaunted before them. Coupled with this is the fame game. The desire for other people to know our name, for them to hold us in high regard, that is something worth living for! And sadly, even within the church, the lure of the material and the desire for self-aggrandisement is never too far away. If we believe that these things are something worth living for then we are wrong! Pure and simple. Not only that they will turn out to be boats with gaping holes in them. They cannot satisfy and they will never produce lasting contentment. And whats more for the believer these are not our priorities. Why? Because we are people called to be exiles. People living as if we were in a foreign land.
When Peter writes to encourage the church what does he want to remind them about? He wants to remind them of their identity in this world; they are elect exiles of God, sanctified by the spirit and called to obey our saviour (1 Pet 1:1-2). As believers we are on the periphery of what this world deems as essential, good or normal. Our God ordained role is to be so counter-cultural that, although we come from our culture, we are not like our culture. In other words, we don’t look at material gain or achieving fame as the goal of our lives, do we?
But, sadly believers do. Sadly, churches do. We crave people’s acceptance, we desire their recognition. We want to have things or a life filled with material comfort. Our hearts run after the false gods created by our culture, forgetting that what we have in Christ is worth more and lasts longer than all the possession on the earth (1 Pet 1:17-21).
The call is to be an exile; will you be one? Will you happily live without the recognition of this world knowing that the Father knows you, loves you and gave his son for you? Will you live as a stranger in your own culture or across cultures knowing that the glory of God’s presence is only a moment away? Nobody says that it is easy. In fact its going to be hard; but its going to be good. William Borden understood this as he looked to living the Christian life; “I know it is no easy thing to serve the Lord, but others have been enabled to do so, and there is no reason why I should not”
For a moment we will be an exile. For eternity we will be his child! Will you live as an exile so that others can share in Christ’s inheritance?