June 3, 2021
By: Gabriel Tseng

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:9-12

Being out of place, as foreigners and exiles, is incredibly relatable as my own plans and purposes have not exactly come to fruition. I can barely articulate what it was that I wanted when I was a child, let alone today As I’ve grown older, maybe not more mature, I realize more and more of my own ignorance and my waywardness. I’ve hoped that life would become clearer in direction with more stability and consistency. I sought it still after I got married, but I gave up after having children. I’ve settled in my soul that my life truly is in God’s hands. 

The feeling of being displaced was a struggle for the early Church and it continues to be a struggle for the Church that the Lord left in the world. It will be a continued tension as we are a people not of this world, but placed in this world as a witness for a different Kingdom. Being lights in this world can be incredibly hard and lonely in a world of darkness. It’s encouraging to meet others who are the light, but our identity as light in the darkness is intimately baked into who we are. 

Another aspect of being foreigners and exiles seems incredibly pertinent as we come out of hibernation into a new world post COVID. Our church community is changing, shifting some and bringing in some who are new. Lives and seasons change and God will often tell us not only to stay, but to go. Our very lives are a living sacrifice to be lived excellently, not paralyzed by being perfect, but allowing to be perfected by Christ. Our witness as foreigners and exiles of a different kingdom becomes incredibly powerful and important in a coming world in which many others will feel as foreign as we begin to adjust to a “new normal” yet again. 

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