There’s no place like home
We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. – Philippians 3:20
Acts 7:6 God also told him that his descendants would live as aliens in a foreign land, where they would be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.
1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I warn you as aliens and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
Hebrews 11:13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads.
There is no place like home. Figures provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration show that it is dangerous to drive near your home. The NHTSA reports that approximately 52 percent of all accidents occur within a five-mile radius of home and 69 percent of all car accidents occur within a ten-mile radius from home. Only 1% of accidents occur more than 50 miles from home.
Does that mean that it is time to move? Of course not. Statistics only provide information. But correlation does not demonstrate causality.
Since 1967 dual citizenship has been permitted in the United States. Many Americans today have dual passports. That is kind of what it is like for the Father’s children. We are citizens of our native countries and we are also citizens of heaven. Most people down through the centuries lived on earth for less than 100 years. Compared to eternity that is infinitesimally less than a nano drop of water measured against the Pacific Ocean.
Where is home for the Father’s children?
Heaven is our true and final home. The Bible is quite clear that we are exiles from our true home in heaven. We are as merely temporary, resident aliens on planet Earth. We may have earthly passports, green cards, work permits, visas, etc. but we really do not belong here.
Getting our arms around this can be a life-changing perspective transformation.
But there is a downside. In fact, the world can be quite hostile to the Father’s children. One way or another we are told, “your kind is not welcome here.” In our lifetime, this antipathy is rising to the level of hatred. Are we hated simply because we cherish the name of Christ? Sadly yes! But this is really nothing new.
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.
19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”
1 John 3:13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
For most Americans, this sounds a bit “alien.” But perhaps a little less so every year.
And while we are considering hostility and hatred towards those that are associated with the Father God, ponder this prophecy concerning their future persecution in the last days.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children – all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.
Who are the players here? The Dragon is the enemy of our souls. The woman is the nation of Israel through whom Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. The enemy was unable to destroy Israel or the Lord Jesus Christ. He tried killing Christ. He was successful. But we know how that turned out. Christ Jesus was resurrected from the dead and the enemy’s plan was thwarted. So who is left for the enemy to direct his anger and hate toward?
Who is known for trying to keep the Old Testament commandments? Could it be religious Jews? Who maintains faith and testifies of Jesus? Could it be those who are known in the world as Christians?
REFLECT & PRAY
Right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is preparing a place for us in the Father’s home (John 14:2-6).
Father there is no place like home. Thank You for adopting me and making me part of Your family. My home is not where I live, but where my family is.
Well if we are citizens of heaven but temporarily confined as resident aliens to the earth how should we live?
Perhaps the advice of Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon is the same advice he would give us.
5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce.
6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away!
7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
Rather than planning on going home anytime soon, they were to settle in and carry on life as usual. But Jeremiah does not stop there. He raises the bar. The exiles were to strive for the peace and welfare of the city of Babylon and not work against it. On top of that they were even to pray for the Father’s blessing upon it! They were to pray for their enemies.
Praying for barbarous Babylonians? What a strange and revolutionary idea!
But indeed, this is the standard for all of the Father’s children and. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Why should the Father’s children work for the peace and prosperity of the city? The practical straightforward answer is that their welfare is linked to the welfare of the city. When the city prospers, they prosper.
Jeremiah does not tell the people to seek peace in the city; he tells them to seek the peace of the city.
Could this possibly work? The answer is unequivocally yes!
“What unusual advice for Jeremiah to give his exiled countrymen! History shows that in all the centuries of their world-wide dispersion, the Jews have tried to follow this pattern. They have identified themselves with the country of their residence, while at the same time looking toward eventual restoration to their native land” (Feinberg).
“This passage reflects something that becomes an important component of Jewish and Christian life in the centuries that follow. In most cases, these believers have found themselves to be the minority in their society. They have little influence over the moral and ethical tone of the culture in which they find themselves. They see themselves in a struggle with much in the society. It is important to see what this passage teaches, and what it does not teach. This passage reminds believers that their general economic welfare is tied to the society in which they live. For this reason alone the LORD tells them to pray for the city in which they live. They are not expected to promote or even condone the standards of their society. They are to pray for it for their own sake” (Willis).
We are pilgrims passing through a foreign land. We are in territory dominated and controlled by the enemy of our souls. Our values and beliefs are under pressure from the local culture. We are strangers and stand out because we have absolute values, not relative ones.
The Father requires that we remain firm in our faith and live out the truth we know from the word of God. We are to make the best of our circumstances and live life to the fullest with integrity and righteousness.
The question becomes, “Father what would you have me do as I live here and now?”