The hot political topic today concerns aliens — particularly illegal aliens. Many of them seek to immigrate here for a chance at a better life and to not only prosper and excel but to be a part of a society where they can fit in. Many try it the illegal way, while others wait in line, jump through all the governmental hoops and red tape to become a citizen of this great land.
But did you know there are millions of people in this country today who are legal citizens, yet do not belong?
The scripture tells us that it is the follower of Christ who is an alien in this world. Philippians 3:20 says “for our (the redeemed) citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Hebrews chapter 11 we read of the great people of faith through the ages, beginning with Abel, one of the sons of Adam and Eve, who offered a more excellent sacrifice to God than did his brother Cain; Enoch, whose faith was so fervent, and whose walk was so close to God, he was translated into Heaven without even experiencing physical death; Noah built the Ark because he believed God’s promise to destroy the earth by water. Then there was Abraham, who was commanded to simply arise and go to a country flowing with milk and honey. He was also commanded to offer his only son, Isaac on an altar of wood, even though he was promised, by God, to have descendants that would number as many as the stars of heaven and the sands of the seas.
So he believed God, and God sent a substitute to be placed on that altar.
These giants in the faith were described in scripture as “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Today, this is what describes people who have placed their faith in Christ; we are sojourners — pilgrims, strangers on this earth. The Apostle Peter made a plea to the church; “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
Some ways we may check our devotion and walk with the Lord is to periodically ask ourselves, “Do I have an insatiable love for this present world? Is the reality of Heaven clouded by my love for the things of this life? Do I have an obsession for God; always keenly aware of His presence, and am always talking to him? Are my sights affixed to my eternal home, and do I feel a sense of exhilaration at the thought of being there?”
When I was in the Navy, the aircraft carrier aboard which I was stationed, the USS Shangri-La, made its’ final cruise to the far east in 1970. We set sail in Mayport, Florida and voyaged eastward, halfway around the world for duty in the Gulf of Tonkin off the shores of Vietnam. When our duty was completed, we headed home, continuing to sail east, completely circumnavigating the globe. We had some fascinating liberty calls in Japan, Hong Kong, Manila, Sydney, Australia, Wellington New Zealand and Rio de Janeiro. Fascinating as they were, I never felt at home in those places. I never once felt a compulsion to stay. All I could think of was getting back home to Texas — and to my new bride whom I had married just days before we set sail. I was ready to become engaged in my life’s calling. That was where my heart was — not at those other places where I had sojourned.
This should describe the Christ follower today. Yes, we live in this world, and we have a calling as God’s people while in this world. And yes, there are joys, experiences, and relationships which are fulfilling, and maybe we are privileged to have a few material things. But never should those things cloud our vision concerning where our citizenship truly is — in Heaven, where Christ told us He would be, and where He is building a dwelling place for us that will eclipse any 20,000 square foot mansion or compound inhabited by the rich and famous here on earth.
Many of us remember singing an old gospel song in church years ago;
“This world is not my home
I’m just a’ passin’ 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.”
If you are a believer in Christ, this should be your theme song.