Developing A Pilgrim Mentality

The Bible repeatedly warns us of the dangers of becoming too attached to this world, because becoming too comfortable in this world may prevent us from making it to our true eternal home in heaven. God wants us to develop a pilgrim mentality. Christians should be a people on the move. The Bible is not saying we should be physically moving about like some tribe of nomadic people. It is teaching us that we should constantly be moving forward in our spiritual journey toward our permanent eternal home that begins at the end of this life. The life we now live is a probationary period dedicated to preparing us for what is to come. We place ourselves in spiritual danger when we become too attached to the things of this world and begin to love them more than the hope we have of the greater home God has prepared for us. The apostle Peter wrote, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). He described us (Christians) as “sojourners” and “pilgrims” in this world. The lusts and desires of this world are at war with our souls, so we must develop the proper attitude in order to stay focused. Let’s consider some things we must all remember as we travel through this life as spiritual pilgrims.
1. The Christian pilgrim must be dedicated to the spiritual matters in life instead of the carnal. The apostle Paul admonished the church at Corinth because of divisions within the congregation. He said, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal” (1 Cor. 3:1). He went on to ask them, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men” (1 Cor. 3:3)? He pointed out the difference between being spiritual people and merely acting carnal or fleshly. Paul spoke of this to the Romans as well when he said, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:6-8). We cannot set our mind on the carnal things of this world and expect to succeed in our spiritual journey to heaven.
2. The Christian Pilgrim must not get tied down to the things of this world if they are going to complete their spiritual journey. Imagine pilgrims and sojourners in the physical sense for a moment. Constant movement would be hindered by the accumulation of too much junk, or by becoming tied down with improper relationships. The same applies to the spiritual pilgrim. The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). We can’t become too friendly with the world and weight ourselves down with things that will draw our attention away from God. It will only impede our progress and put us at odds with Him. James wrote, “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
3. The Christian pilgrim must realize that the love of this world only leads to sin, pride, and separation from God. When we begin to love this world, we begin to believe we can make it without God. Pride grabs hold of us, and those fleshly lusts that Peter spoke of begin to win the war against our souls. John warned of the dangers of loving this world. He said, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15,16). Our love for God will keep us on the right course toward heaven.
We often sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” The song is based on a Biblical truth that we must all come to realize. We must develop the pilgrim mentality as we work our way through this world on our way to heaven. -Ed