This world is not our home; yet, we live as if we expect all of the rights and privileges of home right here, right now.
In America, we yearn to fulfill the American dream. It’s all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our lives are consumed with the pursuit of the American dream, whether it be the perfect career, nice house, family, travel, or all of that and more. It’s our unalienable rights, after all.
Is it? God, in his word tells believers that this world is not our home.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 NLT
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20 ESV
This world is not our home. We are exiles here.
What is an exile? An exile is a person living away from their native country, either by choice or compulsion. They are citizens of another country, learning to live in a culture not native to them, which oftentimes means, learning a new language, learning how to function, or simply put, learning how to assimilate.
Oh how easily we have assimilated. We have forgotten that we are exiles. We have forgotten that we belong to another kingdom. We have forgotten that our home is yet to come. We have forgotten that our true citizenship is in heaven, and that the laws of this kingdom are sometimes are in direct opposition to the laws of our kingdom. This is the very reason that God warned the people of Israel to not get caught up in the culture of the nations, to not intermarry because the moment they do, it would deter them from the right path, and they like the nations would begin to call evil good and good evil.
The very people that God brought out of bondage in Egypt with a mighty hand, the people with whom God covenanted, did intermarry and found themselves worshiping the nations’ gods who were no gods.
Instead of pursuing happiness, the Apostle Paul reminds believers:
“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.” Colossians 3:1-3
We are not our own. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and since we are Christ’s we live for him, even as exiles, even in America, the “land of the free”.
The Apostle Peter understood this as well and reminds the called out ones:
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” I Peter 2:10-11
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. I Peter 1:17-19
Living in the land of the free makes it easy to forget our true citizenship. Is our pursuit of happiness antithetical to our calling? Have we so adapted to our culture that its influence on us nullifies our call to be salt and light? These are questions to consider.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” Matthew 5:14-16
Living in the land of the free does make it easy to forget our true citizenship, but let us not forget. Let us rather, conduct ourselves with fear, knowing whose we are, remembering we have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ, and are chosen to live with him in a time yet to come.