This is Not Our Home
This world is starting to feel more and more like a bad movie or a scene from the Twilight Zone with every passing minute. Just in the past few years, I have seen such a shift away from God. This shift has led to more of a divide between culture and religion. The things of this world are being highlighted as good and the things of God are being stereotyped as being bad. You can’t even drive the highway without seeing a billboard that is advertising something that encourages seeking pleasure and to fulfill whatever need you have at that moment. Culture is encouraging us to seek worldly pleasures and God is encouraging us to seek spiritual pleasures. We read in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” We learn that we cannot serve both God and the things of this world, in this verse money. Believers have to make a choice to either give in to this world and leave God in the dust or stand up and stand out in this world because we choose to honor God before all else.
Making the decision to stand for God in this culture does not come easy. There is a feeling of discomfort in being a believer in this culture that is turning towards sinful pleasure. It is uncomfortable to be a believer in this world because we do not belong to this world. Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” We don’t feel comfortable here because this is not our home, this is not the place where we are intended to be long term. When God created the world, He intended it to be a paradise where humans would live in communion with Him. When the sin entered the garden it drove a divide into the relationship and the connection was broken. Ever since then our world has been broken and our culture has been drifting further and further away from the world God intended for us to live in. When we strive to live in community with God daily we are going against the ways of the world. It is painful because we are beginning to heal by putting the broken pieces back together, we begin to see the image of what God really intended for us.
Standing tall for The Lord can come with a lot of labels that culture places on you; weird, judgemental, a prude, foolish, etc. I challenge you to not let those labels define you, be proud to be a believer. We know that what the world is saying about us is wrong so we can keep moving forward and know that only God’s opinion of us is the one that matters. If culture sees you as being different that is a good thing, that means that you are truly standing against the world and standing for God. You are living for the future, not your present. You have a Hebrews 11:16 mindset, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
Living for the Lord today leads to many riches and prizes in the future. I choose to look at it as an investment into heaven. Just like when you put money into a savings account knowing that in the future, years from now that money will have built interest and be worth more. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. If we choose to look at our pain and suffering in the light of this verse it makes it easier to take the persecution and pain culture puts on us. It makes it easier to keep faith and keep walking forward to our ultimate destination. We can keep walking on the narrow path that leads to heaven.
This world is not our home. This culture is not what God intended for us. Matthew 7:13-15 gives us some insight into how we are to approach the gates that will lead us home. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” There are two gates, one that leads to life and the other that leads to destruction. We are all on the journey towards one of the two and the decisions we make daily are what lead us on either the narrow path or the broad road. We must be watchful and give ourselves grace when we stumble, as well as giving grace to others on the same journey. The final part of this verse gives us a very important warning, there are people who are disguising themselves as good when they are really evil. Be watchful of the influence everyone in your life has on you. Are they leading you to the narrow path or the broad road?
The good news is that even though our world is broken by the original sin, God sent His son to save us. Jesus’ sacrifice cleaned our slate which gives us the opportunity to walk away from our sins into the paradise God has made for us. Unfortunately, that paradise is not here but in heaven. We learn two important things from Luke 23:43, “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” First, paradise does exist because Jesus told the sinner hanging next to Him on the cross that he would join him there. Second, it is never too late to receive the gift of life and eternity. You can even ask for forgiveness in your last moments like this man did and God will welcome you in open arms.
The things of this world are fading but there is a new world and new heaven to come. We read about this in Revelation 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” We have a future to look forward to, A paradise that new and unbroken. "For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God." Hebrews 13:14-16. We know this is not our home, where we are now is only temporary. But in the time we do have on this earth we should be praising God, leading others to His grace through our actions.
I leave you with this... Since this world is temporary and fleeting we are not obligated to live by its rules. What we are obligated to is God who offers us a heavenly eternity in exchange for temporary pain and suffering. We know that heaven is a paradise that offers much relief to our weary souls. What sacrifices do you need to make in order to be granted access to our real home?
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