True Citizenship & The Pilgrim’s Life

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Recently I have been asking myself,  “What is home?” Is home where one is originally from? Is home where one currently resides? What exactly do we mean by home?

I have gone through quite a few transitions in the past year. For one, I got married to the love of my life. Then my wife and I moved to downtown Chicago after we got married. We were experiencing many adjustments. As I finish school, the question of Graduate School was discussed. This forces more change. Where will we work, and what transitions do we have to make regarding that? To sum it up, my wife and I have been thinking about where our little family will call “home.” These thoughts, transitions, and decisions have overwhelmed me this year, both good and bad as I am definitely feeling anxious and uncertain with what is ahead. Simply put, I don’t know where home is or where home will be.

Here is the beautiful thing about having life in Christ; He always speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures. I know that when I am uncertain about things, I can come to God’s word and seek His will. Then I can come to God in prayer and ask for clarity, guidance, and the revealing of Himself through His Son. In my search throughout the Scriptures regarding the next steps in my families life, God in His perfect faithfulness, revealed beautiful truth to me. I was in the book of Philippians a few weeks ago, and a passage in Chapter 3 really spoke to me regarding this question. This passage reads,

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Immediately I thought, “Wow!” That’s it right there. The answer I have been looking for. This passage was the answer to my questions and I let it sink in.

Paul is instructing the church at Philippi, which he had established (Acts 16:11-40), that we should not consider earth as our home. God has given us this earth as a gift. A gift that we may enjoy, yet we should not fall in love with it. Instead, we must fall in love with God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Salvation. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ alone saves us from the horrors of this world. Due to the fall (Genesis 3), this world has been ridden with sin. The enemy deceived Adam and Eve in the beginning and he continues to deceive today. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, always looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is dangerous. He uses the pleasures of this world to lead us away from our Perfect Savior. Whether that’s pride, lust, greed, selfishness, hate, drunkenness, or distortion, the enemy uses it all to separate us from Christ. How can this earth then, be our “home?” Is this something that we want to be apart of forever, calling it our home?

We are here on this earth to receive our Savior, Jesus Christ, who then establishes our true home in Himself. In Christ, we are absorbed into the whole people of God as we partake of the heavenly courts. We are made one with Christ when we are saved, as we are united to Him and participate in the depths of His glory. Being in Christ, we begin to taste what home is really like. Can you imagine yourself in deep awe and worship of Christ? When nothing else crowds your mind except for the beauty of Christ Jesus. That moment is just a taste of what home is like. It is a mere glimpse of what is to come. As we receive Jesus as Savior, our life changes. The pleasures of this world should no longer dictate how we live. Instead, we ought to seek the perfect and Holy will of God for our lives. We are no longer living to receive pleasure from this world, but we are living to receive a deep satisfaction by resting in our Savior. Christians are on a mission from God. We are called to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

When we receive Jesus as our Savior, why would we keep Him from those who don’t have Him? If we have the good news, why not share it? It is like having a beautiful home and not wanting to share it with anyone, or not inviting anyone over. Ever. That’s absurd! As Christians, we have the good news. So why be silent? We are on a mission from God, to point people to their true home which is in Christ. On this earth, we are pilgrims. We are pilgrims who share the good news of Christ. No matter where you live or where you’re from, you are not home until you are encapsulated into Christ Jesus. Our citizenship is not on earth, where we have become so comfortable with our living. Instead, we are pilgrims on this earth, longing to be home with our Savior, where we will be pilgrims no more.

John Calvin once said that we are constantly “on the road” since heaven is our ultimate homeland and this “on the road” journey will finally come to an end when we arrive in heaven. Calvin goes on to say, “Believers are just sojourners on this earth, so that with hope and patience they strive toward a better life. If heaven is one’s homeland, one can, at one and the same time, feel at home both anywhere and nowhere.” (Selderhuis, 35).

Calvin was right on. We are merely sojourners here on earth awaiting our true home, heaven. It doesn’t matter where we are geographically located on this earth, because when we are in our Lord Jesus Christ, home is both anywhere and nowhere. The reason for this is that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

So what is the issue that many Christians wrestle with? The issue is that many think that they must settle in one location and be glued to it. One house, one neighborhood, one city, one county, once state, one country. This is the problem. Many want to make their “home” where they see fit, or where they feel comfortable. This loses the beauty of following God no matter where He leads. Keep in mind that God most certainly orients people to one particular location for a lifetime, I do not argue against that. What is foolish is when people feel constrained by a certain location and are not accepting of change in life. Paul was a sojourner. Christ was a sojourner. Thus we as Christians are sojourners on earth. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are pilgrims and we MUST be okay with that.

Having trouble with this? Ask God to change your heart and mind regarding your true citizenship. Ask Him to reveal the truth of His Son in your life, so that you may experience an overwhelming peace regarding your citizenship. We can not change ourselves. We need to depend on our living Savior, who alone can change our hearts and minds. Let us seek Christ so that we are not consumed with the things of this world, living for earthly pleasures, believing that this earth is our true home. Let us fully depend on Christ who is in us, asking Him to help us focus on our real home, which is in heaven. We are sojourners here, yet, we are home in the providence of God. We are pilgrims that are journeying along in this temporary world, as we await our true citizenship. We are to live a pilgrim’s life and understand, that our true residency is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Points of Reference:
Selderhuis, H. J. John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009. Print.

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