As Strangers And Pilgrims

by David J. Stewart

1st Peter 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

       The Word of God admonishes us as believers to go through this life as strangers and pilgrims. This world is not our home. Amen! God pleads with us to abstain from the worldly cares, temporary riches and the sinful pleasures of this life, which choke so many Christians into becoming fruitless believers (Luke 8:14). God wants us to be soul-winners.

We are living in sad times of woeful wickedness and apostasy. Nudity is everywhere. The average person scoffs and takes sin lightly. Television has made a complete mockery out of marriage, the Bible and the name of Jesus Christ. Nothing is held as sacred anymore. Fornication and adultery are commonplace. America has become a large Sodom and Gomorrah. Few people believe and obey the Bible these days. America has forgotten the God of the Bible.

In these times of hellish wickedness, as believers we must keep in mind continually that we're just pilgrims passing through, strangers traveling through this world of unbelief and insanity. We have a home beyond the skies in Heaven where the angels await our arrival, and our Lord is waiting to receive us into His home.

I had the wonderful opportunity to witness to two elderly sisters on the airplane while heading to California for my surgery. They started the conversation by trying to recruit me into selling Amway products. They were returning from an Amway convention in Hawaii and we're excited about their business. They were headed for Houston where they both own oceanfront property. The woman next to me said her home was valued at over one million dollars and her sister's at 1.8 million dollars. On the plane they both had portable DVD movie players, pockets full of snack foods and couldn't stop talking about how much money they were making through Amway. I felt sorry for them.

I politely told the woman next to me that I was going for surgery and wasn't interested in making money. She looked at me with a perplexed look. Then her sister said, “We'll, some people are closed-minded towards success.” At that point I used that opportunity to witness to both of them concerning the precious Lord Jesus Christ. I told them both that I wasn't interested in making money in this temporal world of sin, but that I had committed the remainder of my life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and winning lost souls to the Savior. I explained to them that I was laying-up treasures in Heaven instead. I gave them my website. I explained to them that we are saved, not by our own self-righteousness; but by Jesus' righteousness which is obtained through faith in the blood that He shed for our sins. The sister next to me listened intently and said twice, “You are a friendly man and have the right attitude,” but her sister never spoke another word to me. The Lord had used me to plant the Seed of God's Word into their hearts. 

What does it matter if you make millions-of-dollars in this earthly lifetime? You cannot take any of it with you when you pass into eternity. Where will you spend eternity? That is the big question? Have your sins been forgiven by God, washed away by Christ's precious blood, or are you still saturated in your sins and bound for Hell in unbelief? The choice is yours alone to make. Those two ladies on the airplane had become very successful in the Amway business, but where will they spend eternity? They told me, “If you sell Amway, you'll have more friends then you ever could have imagined.” That part intrigued me a lot more than the money part. I don't care about money, but friendship is something that's hard to find in this world. The Prodigal son had many so-called “friends” until his money ran out. Then he was eating corn husks with the pigs. I don't have hardly any friends. I am a loner, like John the Baptist. I knew that the so-called “friendship” those Amway women were offering is only the synthetic, fake and temporary fondness fueled by people's covetousness. It's no friendship at all. I've seen many people throughout my life—former bosses, former coworkers, former ministry workers, et cetera—become passionate and excited about making money. What a sorrowful path to go down!

With a website like mine, I don't have too many friends, but God is my friend and that's all that matters. James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” I don't want to be God's enemy; therefore, I am NOT the sinful world's friend. I hate this world of sin. I want to live for Jesus and do what's right. Thus, I have few friends. Sadly, it's hard to find a true friend even at church. They all want your money. It's sad that you can't even visit a church nowadays without them trying to get their claws into you from the get-go. Most churches act like cults, i.e., they want to know everything about you, control your life and empty out your pockets “for the Lord,” while they're taking regular vacations and living high-on-the-hog. I am so disgusted with the church scene today. Despite the recession, most church leaders are doing just fine financially. There's an old 1950's song called, “Get a job.”

We are pilgrims, temporary dwellers in a foreign land that is NOT our home. For the born-again Christian, and only for the born-again Christian, Heaven is our permanent home. What a day that will be!

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1st John 5:19).

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