11 “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 (NLT)
All college and pro athletes face a decision when they join a new team — who they will seek to please in this environment. Each decision has several factors: consequences, respect and personal compromise.
Ultimately, it is a decision to be either an influence in their surroundings or to be influenced by their surroundings.
Christian athletes have a dilemma. They pledged their allegiance to a new King and Master when they gave their lives to Christ. Heaven is their home.
That is the background of Peter’s thought in writing today’s passage. He was not writing to people who had moved from one earthly country to another. Rather, Peter warns them to live as temporary residents on earth, resisting the world values that conflict with God’s standards.
That dilemma makes for persistent battles.
Athletes fear being viewed as out of step with the team, whether it be fashion, beliefs or values. It puts them in a vulnerable position. No one enjoys being the odd one out, the one who doesn’t fit in. That is the power in the pull of the culture.
C.S. Lewis wrote in “The Inner Ring”:
“I believe that in all men’s lives at certain periods, and in many men’s lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside. … Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”
We live in the context of a world system committed to human-centered values instead of God-centered values. That means Christ-followers will have a battle with the culture until they leave earth for their home in heaven.