"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 Pet. 2:11- 12).
A sojourner is someone who has taken up temporary residence in
a place. Today, some one may go to a foreign country to live for
a couple of years with the intent of returning home. This person
is a sojourner. But, if the person does not intend to return home
and becomes a citizen of the foreign country, he is not sojourning.
God's people have always considered mortal life a sojourning and
pilgrimage (Gen. 47:9; Ps. 119:54; Heb. 11:13-16). If you are a
child of God, you too must be a sojourner since this world is not
There are four aspects of a Christian's sojourning. First, most
details of our homeland have not been revealed. We are pilgrims
upon the earth journeying to our eternal home in faith. None of
us has seen heaven. We only have vague glimpses of the home we long
to obtain at the end of this journey. By faith we remain on our
journey and are not deterred by uncertainty (Heb. 11:8).
Second, we do not always understand everything that happens along
our journey. Put yourself in Noah's shoes. It had never rained upon
the earth and God commanded Noah to build an ark because He was
going to cause it to rain and destroy the earth. How perplexing
this must have been. Noah may have wondered: What is rain? What
does rain look like and feel like? How will it destroy the earth?
Also consider Daniel. He was a great prophet of God. God gave him
an end time prophesy to record for future generations. Although
he spoke and recorded the words, he did not understand the meaning.
He says: "Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, 'My
Lord, what shall be the end of these things?' And he said, "Go your
way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time
of the end'" (Dan. 12:8-9). So, we do not always understand the
things that happen along our journey. Like Daniel, we trust in the
Lord, obey His word, and remain confident that we will receive the
Third, our pilgrimage requires sacrifice. As an athlete must sacrifice
to condition his body, we must also sacrifice to discipline our
body and bring it into subjection. Using this metaphor, Paul says:
"Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as
one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into
subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should
become disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:26-27). Jesus said: "If anyone desires
to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and
whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man
profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or
what will a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matt. 16:24-26)?
Fourth, faith keeps us on our journey to heaven. Having presented
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah as faithful pilgrims, Paul
says: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them,
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland"
Think about yourself: Are you a child of God living in faith? Have
you embraced the promises of God? Do you confess that you are a
stranger and pilgrim on the earth? Are you declaring that you seek