A counter-cultural life

Posted May 18, 2017

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Daily Scripture

1 Peter 2:11-12

11 Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. 12 Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.

Reflection Questions

Jesus faced criticism for hanging out with “tax collectors and sinners” (e.g. Luke 15:1-2). Ironically, some in the Roman world defamed Jesus' followers for holy lives that were different from “sinners.” “Neighbors who are unbelievers are speaking against the behavior of these Christians. What is good has been judged to be immoral. [Peter’s teaching] encourages loyalty to key social values while also pressing for obedience to Christ and formation in Christ.” *

  • 1 Peter 2:11 used the Greek words paroikos (“immigrants”) and parepidēmos (strangers). Both words referred to temporary residents of a place, people whose true home was elsewhere. In what ways and to what extent do you think of God’s eternal kingdom as your true home, one that makes you a temporary resident of this earth? Do you find it easy or difficult to live as a citizen of that eternal kingdom?
  • If we actually make the (often invisible) Kingdom of God our central allegiance, at times we may look a little strange, even to family members or friends. How much of a struggle is it for you to live, not as someone who always “fits in,” but as a “stranger and immigrant” in this world? To what extent are your choices (including those about life style and sexuality) ultimately driven by God’s “otherworldly” values?


Lord God, it’s one thing to say you are “King of Kings.” Sometimes it is quite another thing to say you are king of my heart. Make the latter as true in my day-to-day life as I believe the former is when I worship you in church. Amen.

* Jeannine K. Brown, study note on 1 Peter 2:11-12 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 465 NT.

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Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

In elementary school, help was always a raised hand away. You don’t know how to solve the problem? Raise your hand. You don’t know what page you should be on? Raise your hand. The kid next to you won’t stop poking you? Raise your hand. Everything was solved by asking for help. As we entered our teens, we wanted to be more independent. We didn’t want to raise our hands, because asking for help was for little kids. And certainly, as adults, the idea of requiring assistance seems like an insult. People our age shouldn’t need help.  

But what if we do? We often know what God wants for us, the decisions we should and shouldn’t be making. If life was just about knowing the right thing to do, our lives would be much easier. However, there is often a gap between knowing what is right and doing what is right. Sometimes the gap is narrow enough that sheer determination can bridge the two. However, there are other times when the gap is so wide that willpower alone won’t cut it.  

If you can’t break a habit or behavior that is harmful to you, to others, or to your relationship with God, you need to know that it is okay to ask for help. At some point in our adult lives we all need help. It’s much wiser to ask for help than to allow your life and soul to suffer because your pride is at stake. Pride doesn’t negate the need for help, it only delays it.  

Help may come from a friend or loved one, but there are times when pastoral or professional resources are a better choice. Turning to pastors, counselors, and therapists doesn’t make you a bad or immature person, and it absolutely doesn’t mean that you aren’t a “good Christian.” God doesn’t want perfection from us. What He wants is wholeness for our lives and the lives of those around us. If you need help breaking away from harmful patterns, stop what you’re doing, call the church, and get help. No matter what you’re dealing with you’ll find people with open arms ready to greet you, if only you’ll raise your hand. 

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