This World Is Not My Home
August 2, 2015, 7:27 AM

This week was our oldest daughter’s fifth wedding anniversary.  I’m not sure how that’s possible!  On the one hand, it seems like she’s been gone from home for far too long…and on the other it seems like her wedding was just months ago.  Both of our daughters married in the same year and both married Vietnamese men who we love very much.  Both of our sons-in-law immigrated to America as children.  Now we don’t see our sons-in-laws’ families a whole lot, but when we do, the differences are immediately obvious to even a casual observer.  We don’t look the same…or sound the same…or dress the same…or share the same cultural practices. 

So this morning I was thinking about this and began wondering, how different do I seem from someone who doesn’t know Jesus?  Am I living my life in such a way that differences are immediately obvious to even a casual observer?  Can others tell this world is not my home?

1 Peter 2:11

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Consider what it means to be an alien and a stranger, or the word used in some versions – a sojourner:

Someone who is just traveling through may pitch a tent, but they don’t build a house – they aren’t settling down to stay.  That’s because they’re on their way to somewhere else!  Where they are is not their real destination.  It’s not home.  It’s just a place to stay.  Am I treating this world as just a place to stay…or am I building as though I belong here…making this place my home?  This past Sunday morning, we sang an old song called “This World is Not My Home” by E.B. Graham with lyrics by S.D. Burton.  The first verse says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through, My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue; The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”  I need not get too comfortable here.

Their loyalty is to another King in another place.  To become a U.S. citizen, a person is required to take an “oath of allegiance” in which the new citizen forsakes his country of birth and declares absolute allegiance to the United States.  Citizens adopt the culture and practices of the nation or kingdom to which they belong and must obey its laws.  As Christians, our loyalty, first and foremost, must be to God.  He must have our absolute allegiance.  When we become His, we forsake the pattern of this world of our birth and instead we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

A sojourner’s customs are foreign to those around them – they live differently…and it’s obvious.  One example that jumps out to me is the differences in how Amber and Choi experienced dinner time in the homes they grew up in.  In our home, dinner happened about 6 p.m.  We gathered at the dining table, said a prayer of thanks to God, ate typical American fare, and used a fork.  Choi’s parents worked much later, so he and his siblings ate a snack after getting home from school, but dinner didn’t happen until late in the evening, consisting of Vietnamese foods I can’t pronounce (with the exception of rice, LOL), and using chopsticks every bit as easily as I use a fork.  As a Christian, are my everyday practices different from the rest of the culture around me…or have I started to adopt the ways of the world around me?  Romans 12:2 begins with the exhortation, “And do not be conformed to this world…”

Their language sounds strange.  We immediately recognize someone isn’t from around here when we hear them speak.  Sometimes they are speaking in the language of the country of their birth, or they have a really strong accent, and occasionally they use turns of phrase we aren’t familiar with.  What is different about the language of a believer?  Well, hopefully it’s not just in the words we don’t use, or the workplace gossip we don’t participate in, or the complaining which is so easy to do – but hopefully instead it’s heard in our words of kindness and encouragement, in our gospel witness, and our praise and thanks to God that stands out.

Their dress stands out in a crowd.  There was a beautiful, Nigerian woman who attended church with us for a time while she was visiting the U.S.  Her colorful dresses and head wraps stood out in a way that you couldn’t miss the fact that she was from somewhere else.  This point may not seem to apply too much to my present…ahem…age group.  After all, I don’t look around seeing many Christian women my age dressing risqué, although over the years, I’ve noticed many trying to fit in with their peers by dressing the way their peers dress.  Like most things, this too is a heart issue.  I have to ask myself, “Am I dressing in a way to draw attention to myself, or am I dressing in a way that brings honor to God?”  Oh, that applies to more than just scanty clothing – what about dressing head to toe in some designer garb desiring to make others envious of our wardrobe? 

The heart of someone just passing through longs for home.  On the night of the last supper, Jesus told His disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  Jesus was talking about HOME!  Home is where your family is.  Have you ever gone away on a trip – especially one without your loved ones – and been homesick?  I find myself homesick sometimes for a place I’ve never yet been – but because it’s my Father’s house – and the place where the Savior I love lives – I know it’s my real home. 

Philippians 3:20

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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