Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I Peter 2:11-12 NIV
We are citizens of God’s Kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and citizens of America. We are called to be good citizens of both. Peter charges us “to abstain from sinful desires which war against our soul,” I Peter 2:11. Both Peter and Paul talk of this war that rages in our minds, souls and bodies, (Romans 7 & 8, Galatians 5:16-22). Thankfully, they also offer solutions. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” I Peter 5:7 is part of the solution. Paul tells us, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” II Corinthians 10:3-5.
Much of the battle for our souls is fought in the mind. What do you spend time thinking about? Is your day consumed with thoughts that result in turmoil, conflict, sin? Sometimes my thoughts are similar to a Merry – Go – Round, always ending up in the same place, with no way to get off, and no solution in sight. For me, Paul offers a solution in Philippians 4:6-8. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about these things.”
For me, I have to actively take charge of my thoughts, take them captive, pray, seek God and make a conscious effort to think about what God wants me to think about. Then, we can be responsible citizens of America and Heaven and “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life,” Philippians 2:14-16a. Let us live in the Spirit and be citizens that display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to everyone.
By Grace Hunter