This is what you must do: watch your ego.

Having reminded these suffering believers of who they were Peter now tells them what they must do.

The temptation in the midst of suffering is to withdraw, to hide away and become a hermit. Peter gives instructions so that his friends (and that’s what they are to him) do not do this.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2 v 11)

There is a war that is hidden yet is more destructive than any disease or attack on your body. It is the war against the soul, the inner man.

I recently sat with a man who for decades of his life had battled this inner war. This onslaught will not stop until it has taken everything. The man has lost his testimony, his trophies of success, his family, he is a shell of what he was and yet the war will continue until every ounce of life is taken.

‘Sinful desires’ are the grasping, reaching, longing, chasing after false dreams, deceptive satisfaction, poisonous fruit, which doesn’t give us to us what we hoped for but rather in turn attacks us with a vengeance in order to steal, kill and destroy our lives. And before we begin to itemise these sinful desires in order to thank God we do not commit them, it is not that simple. The Message helps us to understand by saying, ‘Don’t indulge your ego.’ How and why do people behind pulpits and on pedestals fall? The answer is found within the ego. “I deserve this, I need this, I am justified to do this, I have to have this, this will benefit not just me but the whole, I need to step into a moment of fantasy, I need to hide in another world, I must find happiness, excitement, I need more ‘drugs’, I need a higher high.’ Ego.

This is why Peter tells us that we do not belong here. We pass through. We are foreigners, strangers, exiles, sojourners. There is nothing you need that will be found in this world. The answer is of course Jesus.

How is your soul today? What do you think you deserve?

Are you in this war that Peter describes? The man I spoke with had countless opportunities to tell a close friend, to get help, but his ego prevented him. His ego trapped him. His ego stole all that he was.

Watch your ego. Kill it before it kills you.

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