“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” Jeremiah 29:7.
1 Peter 2:11 refers to Christians as “aliens and strangers in the world.” God commends the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 because they, “Lived as strangers on earth,” and, “Longed for a better country... a heavenly one.” Because of this, God was not ashamed to be called their God. As Christians, we are apart of two kingdoms—the Kingdom of God, and the country in which we live. While our ultimate allegiance lies with God’s Kingdom, we are still accountable to the governing authorities of this world.
This co-existence is quite complex and sometimes difficult to navigate. It helps to think of yourself, if you are a Christ follower, as a citizen of heaven and a pilgrim in the world. The dictionary defines pilgrim as: A person who journeys, especially a long distance; a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place. There is no doubt that God has a purpose for our time here on His earth. The journey we are on matters. How we live matters. How we love matters. How we spend our time and resources matters. But we are journeymen here... this is not our home.
Our home is with Christ. And that is where our devotion, first and foremost, lies. By God’s grace, He has given us a say in what happens here during our journey in the United States. We will be held accountable for how we use the voice He has given us. But election results, governments, and foreign policy do not define us. The land we live in now, political affiliation, church denomination or career do not define us. We have been bought with a price, and do not belong to ourselves. Whatever we do now is to honor and exalt the name of Christ... to know Him and make Him known. That is why we journey.
Perhaps the toughest part of this journey is that the two kingdoms of which we are apart are opposed to one another. The world comes against everything that God’s Kingdom is about. This, at times, can make being “in the world but not of it” seem impossible. In all the ambiguities of citizenship versus pilgrimage, we must remember that Christ came to this world to save sinners, among which we are included.
Christ humbled Himself and served those who opposed Him. He stood His ground, but He also washed feet. He drove the money-changers out of the Temple, but He also pardoned the thief. He journeyed well... and we must strive to do the same.
Sovereign God, Today I praise You for Your Kingdom. I worship You because You are righteous, just, kind and forgiving. Please help me to make much of You during the time I journey in this land. Please use me to bring many lost souls home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.