I enjoy travelling. I have discovered, however, that it is good to go away, and it is good to come home. Restaurant food can be good, but it can all taste the same after a while. I have recognized that there is no bed quite like my own. Yes, travelling is fun, but I also enjoy being at home. There is a comfortable familiarity with our own house that no Holiday Inn can replace. I like to explore new territory, but I grow tired of not knowing my way around. I prefer to drive on roads that I know. There is no place like home!
The Apostle Peter wants to remind God’s people of their home life in 1 Peter 2:9-12. He reminds us in verse 11 that we are aliens and strangers in the world.
Remember where home is.
The Jewish people were keenly aware of their heritage, wherever they were scattered. They were told (by the Scriptures, by their parents and by their grandparents) that they were a unique nation—holy and set apart from the world around them. When Jews and Gentiles accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the two become one (see Ephesians 2:14-18). Having gone through a radical change as a Jew in his view toward Gentiles (see Acts 10), Peter declared this truth in his teachings and writings.
When we travel internationally, people often treat us according to what they think of our home country. I keep my Canadian passport in a safe place and protect it on my journeys. Why is this little book worth so much to me? It identifies where my roots are. Fortunately, my roots are in a country that has a good reputation internationally.
Similarly, if people love our King Jesus, they will probably receive us with open arms. If they dislike our King, they will likely mistreat us. The early church in Jerusalem enjoyed a period of favour and growth as they experienced the Holy Spirit. They enjoyed each other’s company and welcomed others who came to Christ and joined their community. However, persecution broke out against the church and forced many from their homes. The Apostle Peter wrote to these people to remind them where home is and to encourage them to remain faithful to their Lord.
Leonard Ravenhill observed, “The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
Keeping our eyes fixed on this heavenly home, helps us endure a lot in the here and now. It can inspire us to sacrifice much as we pursue someone and someplace that neither you nor I have seen with our physical eyes. Is it any wonder that the world thinks we are crazy?
How would you reply if I were to ask, “Where is home for you?”
Remember where home is not.
We all want to fit in. We strive for this at an early age with the people around us; and most adults never outgrow this tendency. Peter refers to followers of Jesus as “aliens and strangers” in this world. Our lives change when we let the impact of this label sink in.
Few experiences have affected me as profoundly as watching my mother die in 1999. As she lay there struggling for her last breaths, I held her hand, looked into her face and wondered, “What is she experiencing right now?” “What is heaven like?”
We live in such a temporary world. Is this the ultimate reason for our existence? I feel sorry for people whose only hope is what we have here on earth. When we think in such terms, it is little wonder that we hang on so tightly to it.
A common thread amongst passionate followers of Jesus Christ has been homesickness for heaven throughout the centuries. In his letters, the Apostle Paul refers several times to groaning in anticipation of being with the Lord (e.g., Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 5:2-4). Paul and many others have given their lives in service to Christ because they focused on their eternal home.
One of the most life-changing realizations you and I can arrive at is concluding that earth is not where our eternal home will be. We are just passing through! One of my long-time friends and mentors lives out the words on a plaque I saw hanging on his office wall years ago: “Live with Eternity’s Values in View.”
I am not saying that you need to quit your job and become a pastor or missionary to serve God truly. I want to ask, “Where is home for you?” Your answer to that question can determine your priorities and values here and now. We might be poor or wealthy, educated or illiterate, handsome or homely. What matters the most is where our hearts are.
The moment we receive Jesus Christ as our King, we get a preview of what He has in store. Our vision gets clearer as He unfolds more of His plan to us. One day we will see Him and what He has prepared for us very clearly. For now, a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven is within us.
How is life here and now shaped by recognizing our eternal home? Our roots are in another place.