2009-01-29 - Not of this World
1 Peter 2:10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (NASB)
Everything today reminded me that I am a stranger in this world.
I read one of my favorite comics from my desk calendar. Today's three frame skit had some humor in it, but it had an odd twist to it that I was immediately a bit uncomfortable. My first thought was, "Should I really think this is funny?" The next thought was a mental sigh and, "I really don't live here, do I?"
There were a number of smaller incidents during the work day that made me shake my head. There are people in this world who know what should be done and write it off as impossible or too difficult while speaking words to the opposite effect to their superiors. This is a lie, not only to their superiors but to themselves, that they see no harm in at all. I looked at them in disbelief as they spoke, and they politely laughed thinking me naive. I walked away shaking my head thanking God that He had called me to something better.
Israel is a picture of the church in some ways though not in all aspects. They were aliens and slaves in Egypt. They were taken into captivity in Babylon. They were scattered around the globe for centuries before they returned to Israel. God preserved them through all the intervening years like no other people who suffered that kind of dilution. This is just as He has protected His protected the church and Truth for the last two millennia. One day too we will go home to a city where the streets are paved with what is called precious here, and the Lord who is mocked here will be worshiped in spirit and in truth.
Tonight I received a letter from a fellow believer who is struggling financially and is at odds with how he must survive in this world. He senses a calling on his life. He feels led to write a book and progress is being made in the writing. He feels the difference between our home and where we are now, living as ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20) and witnesses (Acts 1:8) for our King, very sharply. Please join me and pray for Chris.
It would be wrong to say that we do not belong here.
It is true that our eternal citizenship is not here (Eph 2:19-22), but we are the salt and light that preserves the world and its people (Mark 9:50). We are here for a reason: to preserve this world while we are in the world but not part of it (John 17:15-16). We are to "do business" (Luke 19:13, NASB) or "to occupy" (KJV) until our Master returns. It is true that there are days when we might be homesick, some days or seasons more than others. I miss friends that have gone ahead to be home with Jesus. I tire of the struggling between the old man that wars with me constantly (v11). We are to keep our behavior above reproach while not being haughty (v12) or judgemental (Matt 7:2).
We have received mercy that flows from the heart of God to our hearts. The simple knowing beyond a doubt that Jesus is your Savior and that your eternal destiny is established in Heaven is witness to any homesick, bruised or battered heart. When our world seems upside-down, Jesus is an unchanging (Heb 13:8-9) to what is true and good. He is the lighthouse that will lead us to a safe harbour after we pass through the storms of this world.
Grace & Peace,