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“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12)

pastor was deep in thought and prayer as he went to visit a member who was caught up in sin. The first two times the pastor had visited the woman, she’d shown no remorse for her sin. The pastor was praying that he would be given the words to speak and that the woman would be given the ears to listen this time. The conversation began much like the previous two with the pastor explaining from Scripture how the woman’s actions were sinful, and the woman shrugging it off. As the conversation progressed, the woman, growing irritated, bluntly asked the pastor, “Why do you keep coming to me with this? What do you want from me?!” To which the pastor replied, “I want you to care about your own soul as much as I do. Better yet, I want you to care about your own soul as much as your Savior does.”

In verses 11-12 above, Peter reveals a loving, pastoral heart toward the Christians he addresses with his epistle. He writes, “Beloved, I beg you.” There is a great sense of care and urgency in that word as Peter lovingly begs his Christian readers to “abstain from fleshly lusts.” Why? In satisfying those fleshly lusts the Christian wars against his own soul. Such warring against the soul can only wear away a person’s faith. Throw in impenitence, and the ultimate result is eternal ruin.

Therefore, Peter begs the Christian to care about his own soul, along with his own witness to the unbelieving world around him. And there are other places in Scripture where such begging to care is found. For example, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” (2 Corinthians 6:1). See also Romans 12:1 and 2 John 1:5.

All such urgent begging and pleading reminds us of what else Peter says. Christians are all “pilgrims and sojourners.” We’re all just passing through. How sad it would be to lose out on eternity by impenitently giving in to one’s lust for sinful pleasures here on earth! God certainly does not want that for you! Neither did Peter want that for his readers; therefore, he begged them to fight the good fight against their fleshly lusts and to be mindful of their true home in heaven and their true calling in life.

What great love God showed in sending His only Son to love us and to live and die for us! And what a loving God we have that He would love us stubborn, unworthy sinners so much that He also sends caring pastors and fellow Christians who care for our souls, even in those times when we are so angry or hurt, so depressed or indifferent that we are not properly caring for our own souls ourselves! May we always listen to God’s urgent calls to repentance and run to His Son for mercy and forgiveness.

			A pilgrim and a stranger, I journey here below;
			Far distant is my country, The home to which I go.
			Here I must toil and travail, Oft weary and opprest;
			But there my God shall lead me To everlasting rest.
			So I must hasten forward – Thank God, the end will come!
			This land of passing shadows Is not my destined home.
			The everlasting city, Jerusalem above,
			This evermore abideth, The home of light and love.
			TLH 586: 1,5

Chad Seybt is pastor of Morning Star Lutheran Church in Fairchild, Trinity Lutheran Church in Millston, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Melrose, and Peace with God Evangelical Lutheran Church in Onalaska; all in Wisconsin.