Hebrews 11:13-16 – These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
THEME OF THE DAY. FAR FROM HOME. Ever been far away from home for an extended period? Remember those feelings of homesickness deep inside? And those feelings of never feeling totally comfortable knowing it wasn’t home and only temporary? I experienced both while in the Navy stationed in Italy. I was a young single sailor, far from home, very homesick and never feeling fully comfortable in the little Italian village where I lived.
Such feelings and experiences in the human and earthly realms are natural. We should feel the pain of separation when removed from loved ones and cherished home life. And such feelings and experiences are natural in the Christian and spiritual realm too. In the event we claim to be followers of Christ, yet, find life in this world quite pleasing and comfortable, something is seriously wrong in our spiritual lives. Christians are not to settle into this world with ease and find our satisfaction in the pleasures of this world. Why? This is not our home. We are foreigners in a foreign land. We are pilgrims on a journey, not settlers staking out a permanent dwelling in this world. It is this type of mindset that is necessary to live the Christian life with joy, purpose, and intimacy with the Lord Jesus. In today’s scripture, we have two applications to help us live life in this world as foreigners, aliens, and pilgrims.
First, remember our identity. We are people who didn’t just believe in Jesus Christ and get “some religion” to balance out life or provide us help in time of need. No, we are people whose identity is Christ. In fact, our whole life is Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). He would tell us not only is Christ our life, but that our life is hidden with Christ. And where is that location? Heaven, at the right hand of the Father. We are Christians whose lives are already in heaven and we are to live detached from this world because our identify is attached to the next world. This is what makes us stick out as salt and light in a decaying and worldly society – our otherworldliness. It has been said of the church and Christians, “We will attract the world when we are so much not like the world.”
The second truth to wean us from the world is meditate a lot about heaven and our eternal home – “they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.” Pop quiz. This nugget is for Wednesday. How much time did we give over to meditate on heaven and seeing Jesus since Sunday in church? How we answer that question will tell us how intense our desire is for Heaven and seeing Jesus. An intense desire will get our time and attention. Should we want a closer walk with the Lord and the reality of heaven, we must spend time meditating upon both. Get alone soon and spend an hour praying through, meditating upon Revelation 4 and 5. If we do this consistently, the desire for Christ and heaven will increase and love for the world decrease.
We are far from home. Don’t fall into a worldliness which seeks to convince us this is our home. Instead, give ourselves over to remembering our identity as children of another world, desiring to see the One who rescued us from this world.
PRAYER: “Lord, help me to never grow comfortable in this world for it is not my home.”
QUOTE: “Christians are citizens of another world and thinking this way delivers us from the grips of this world”