Where's Your Home?
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “This is not our home” or some variation of it. It is a helpful and often repeated reminder that our citizenship is in heaven and not this world. But what are we still doing here? If this isn’t our home, then what are we doing in this foreign land? Are we just “passing through?” If you visit another city or another country and you tell someone you are not from the area, they’ll usually ask you what brought you there. Do you know why you’re on this planet?
Jesus knew why he was here. He says in Luke 19:10 that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” He also made our purpose clear in John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost, then Jesus says he is sending us in the same way. We see a clear example of what this looks like through the life of Paul in Acts 20:24 when he says, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Could it be that this life purpose was for Paul and not for us? Nope. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 he says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” In addition, 1 John 2:6 says that “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” Scripture leaves us with zero doubt as to what our purpose in life ought to be! But just to emphasize it one more time, 2 Peter 3 also indicates that the only reason Jesus has not yet fulfilled his promise of returning is because he is being patient and waiting for more people to repent. If that’s why he hasn’t returned yet, could it be that this is the very reason we still have breath in our lungs?
Does your life reflect the purpose and mission of seeking and saving the lost? I’m not just asking if you participate in this mission when you get a chance. I’m asking if you truly live for this mission. When you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you make important life decisions, when you put plans on your calendar, what determines the course of your life? In other words, where is your home?
Imagine a soldier who is sent overseas to fight in a war. He goes with a clear purpose in mind, and his goal is to never lose focus. When he wakes up and goes to sleep, he is focused on his purpose. All of his decisions are made based on this purpose. He has one reason to be there, and that is to accomplish the mission for which he was sent. Otherwise, why would he waste his time living in a place away from home? The soldier does not show up in a foreign country and simply make a life there. He doesn’t think to himself, “I guess I should probably be with my fellow soldiers out fighting in the war, but I am just so busy with other things right now.” How foolish would it look for him to move overseas with his team only to find a job, buy a house, and settle down? It defeats the purpose of going, and I think he would much rather stay home. In the same way, Paul reminds Timothy of his “soldier” identity in 2 Timothy 2:3-4: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” Do you have a soldier mentality when it comes to living for the mission of the one who enlisted you, or do you get entangled in civilian pursuits? We often justify our “civilian pursuits” by saying they are simply a strategy to accomplish the purpose of Christ. But if we are honest, they’re usually not. If I say I’m going to the store to get vegetables but return home with candy instead, I lied about the purpose of my trip. It doesn’t matter how serious I was about going to get vegetables; I didn’t do it. In the same way, we can have the greatest sincerity about wanting to honor God with our civilian pursuits. They are usually not bad things. But just because we work at these things with all of our hearts as if working for the Lord does not make them any less “civilian pursuits”. We must stay focused on the war.
We say this is not our home, but you look around and we have furniture set up and keys to lock the doors. That’s a home. How can we be so focused on building our lives here and then suddenly shift our focus to eternity when Jesus returns? Have you ever caught yourself thinking ever so slightly, “I hope Jesus doesn’t come back before I get to __________?” I have, and it was indicative of where I was building my home. We cannot expect to suddenly shift to an eternal mindset when we die or when Jesus returns. It must be now. As Hebrews 12:1-2 says, we must “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” He is the pioneer! We must follow in His footsteps as we run the race.
I am incredibly thankful that Jesus stayed focused on His mission and did not simply come to the earth and make a life for Himself. Just like us, He probably would have received more approval for it at the time. But how tragic would that have been? We would still be dead in our sins. We would not know God. We would be in spiritual darkness, separated from God with no hope. Instead, He was obedient to the point of death on a cross. We now have life! That is our example of what it looks like to live as an ambassador in this foreign land. His one aim was to please His Father in heaven and to make a way for us to be reconciled back to Him.
Think about it. We’ve been given a war to fight. We know we will win this war because Jesus has already won it. We have nothing to fear; we will reap the rewards of the battle even if we die fighting. And one day Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes. Is that worth it or what? To a follower of Christ, “but what about God’s glory and the billions of souls?” should always be a more compelling argument than “Where will I live? What will I wear? What about my comfort? What about my promising career? What about my family? What if I die?” This is because this is not our home. We are on mission here in a foreign land. Instead of setting up a life here, what would it look like to allow everything to be dictated by living for Christ and his mission? We must set our hearts on eternity and pleasing our commanding officer.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21