“Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do evil, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.” 1Peter 2:11-12
We can easily become our own worst enemy. Personal decisions, activities, and conversations can quickly dissolve a dream, make your God-given goals unreachable, and spoil a godly legacy. That is why Peter warns us to “abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.” It’s too easy to bypass our heavenly calling on earth and be absorbed in the gratification of our fleshly longings. Our “flesh” would have us focus on what makes us happy or feel good rather than live out the purpose God created us for.
The moment you begin to follow Jesus you become “aliens and temporary residents” of this world. And it is a world that you and I know all too well. We were originally born citizens of this world and have become very comfortable living here. But, you have now become a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior transforms you into a person with amazing potential and a calling of God with global and redemptive ramifications.
But your calling by God doesn’t guarantee your effectiveness as a “fisher of men.” It doesn’t mean that everyone will automatically respond to your evangelistic efforts as a “fisher of men.” In fact, not only will many reject your invitation to receive Jesus Christ, but also they will seek to discredit the credibility of your message by highlighting your personal flaws. It is only natural to justify one’s rejection of Christ by seeking to find a way to minimize the truthfulness of the gospel message. To a person without Christ, the easiest way to reduce the importance of the message is to find a way to demonize the messenger.
With that in mind, the Scripture challenges us to “conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles.” It is important that “fishers of men” are consistent in their message and lifestyle. We do not have the luxury of doing or saying whatever comes to mind. We dare not respond according to our fleshly impulses. Instead, we have been given a Spirit who produces within us the fruit of self-control. Jesus put it this way, “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” It doesn’t sound easy because it’s not.
“Fishers of Men” live in a manner consistent with their message. Are you living the life of a “fisher of men?” If not, isn’t it about time you did? Followers of Jesus are called to be “fishers of men.” Be civil, be gracious, be kind, be generous, and be a servant. Those are all consistent characteristics of a “fisher of men.” They need to be demonstrated as the gospel message is proclaimed. They may not convince another person to receive Christ, but ultimately, “they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.”