So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 1 Peter 2:1
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:11
Have you ever traveled to a place for rest and relaxation and imagined living there? Many of us desire better things and alternate places to live that we hope will improve the quality of our lives. Last year, after exploring for fun and interesting vacation sites, we decided to take a trip traveling west. Based on our research, which included looking at many pictures posted on Pinterest, we decided to take a leisurely drive from Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The drive was enjoyable. We were not on a time crunch, which allowed us to make several stops and take pictures of the beauty of the desert. As the scenery changed, the surprise was on us. When we arrived in Santa Fe, to a city with bumper to bumper traffic, noise, and the smog of pollution that is common in much larger cities, we wondered if the pictures we viewed represented a past era of Sante Fe. Although the villa was beautiful and provided a comfort zone with minimal noise from sound-proofed walls and windows, we were in one of the busiest districts that reminded us of our Northeastern upbringing.
Even so, we made the best of a less than desirable situation. We awakened early and took the scenic route through the mountains. The stress melted away as a variety of plants and trees revealed an unequivocal beauty of the New Mexico desert. A visit to a local shop that specialized in handmade items from numerous countries throughout the world was the highlight of our vacation. The talent of the crafters was evident. No two things were alike.
One could just imagine the individual sitting in front of a table with raw materials and lovingly creating items with intricate details and beautiful vibrant colors. The owner provided us with valuable information regarding the towns that provide an atmosphere of rest and relaxation. The description of the historical village of Taos with its adobe buildings and local art by Native Americans certainly piqued our interest for a future vacation spot.
Are we living and planning our lives as if we are visitors on a temporary journey? Many have been taken by surprise from the tragedies of this pandemic. Swift devastation is foretold in the Scriptures and indicates that our earthly homes will soon end. Pastor Carlton P. Byrd of Oakwood University Church stated in his most recent sermon, “There is something that you are looking for that will help you make sense of what you are seeing.” So true, unless we are praying and studying the Bible, we cannot discern the true meaning of the last day events.
Spiritual blindness prevents us from fully comprehending the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, Instead of turning to God for wisdom and the revelation of His Word, we begin to make the same mistakes as unbelievers. We focus on the tangible, the things that we can see and touch as opposed to trusting in the invisible God. The number of Pastors and believers demanding that the churches open despite the alarming numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths indicates the lack of guidance from the Holy Spirit. We cannot place our faith and trust in brick and mortar buildings.
A current article from a Christian magazine told of a young woman’s response to the question, “How have you been affected by not being able to attend church?” She informed the journalist that in their village, they do not have a church, and she worshipped God several times a day alone in her home because she was the only Believer in her family. Building a relationship with God involves daily worship on a personal level, not just collectively meeting once or twice a week, to attendrch services.
What does our future look like? Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. John 14:27
It is time to perform an honest and soul-searching self-evaluation. “Is my life in harmony with what God requires?” To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21
Future plans have been in place since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The commitment to God is reflected in our lifestyle, the way we talk, the activities that we focus on, and the amount of time that we spend worshipping God. To be an overcomer, we must live as temporary residents, always ready for relocation. Either we will remain comfortable in our present situation and hope for things to improve, or we are preparing to live forever in the New Heaven and the New Earth. For the victorious, our permanent residency has been established as we anxiously await the Second Coming of Jesus.
“If all you see has you thinking, ‘Is this all there is to life?’ then your eyes are not open, and you are not seeing what God has in store for you.” Pastor Dr. Carlton P. Byrd
Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020