From Pastor Brady

It’s not easy being in exile. Not only can there be things outside of you that wage war against you, but as our Fighter Verse says, there are things inside of you that wage war against you. Peter calls these forces the “passions of the flesh.” Put simply, we might call them selfish desires.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11

The “passions of the flesh” are not just sexual desires, or even only physical sins (like drunkenness or overeating). They can also include the things listed in 1 Peter 2:1- malice, envy, slander, deceit…

All of these sins take root in the soul. The soul is where our desires reside. Every sin is rooted in wrong desire. Either over-desire for a good thing. Or wrong desire for a bad thing.

The kingdom that we are exiled in is “Babylon.” Babylon is a kingdom rooted in self- identity and independence. A kingdom where man is the highest good and God is manipulated. It is the place founded on “let us make a name for ourselves.” As exiles in this kingdom we must guard our hearts, minds and very souls against falling into this Babylonian mindset. Even things that look and sound good can promote Babylon. Even things that are good gifts from God can be twisted into “making a name for yourself.”

Your job- good gift or your identity?

Your family- good gift or source of control?

Your church- good gift or have traditions become a passion of the flesh?

Your sexuality- good gift or a passion of the flesh that brings a feeling of power?

Christian, you are in a war. You are in exile and the sooner you realize it the better. The way Babylon wins is through assimilation. That’s how ancient Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar tried to win, and that’s how the current worldly Babylon and its king (Satan) try to win. Assimilation. Plain and simple. Earthly mindset. Fleshly eyes. Seeing only what you see. Making a name for yourself as if this is the only reality there is. Love what the world loves. Value their values. Build your own kingdom here.

You say, “I don’t do that, I’m a Christian.” Yes. Or maybe you use your faith and religion to do the same things, but it just looks better on the outside. Trust me, I have used the church, my religion, and even my spiritual gifts to “make a name for myself.” It is easy for my identity to be Christianity rather than Christ. I’m sure it is easy for you to slip into this as well.

So let me say, like Peter, that I love you and I urge you to fight against the passions of the flesh. Put on Christ Jesus as your true and greatest desire. Let his Kingdom rule your heart and mind. Let self-sacrifice overrule selfishness in your soul. And let the shalom of God rule your heart as you spread the shalom of God throughout Babylon.

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