Do I Belong?

Through out the centuries believers have faced the awkwardness of living in a world that is not their home.  John Bunyan’s famous book, “Pilgrim’s Progress” from the late Middle Ages, is a powerful allegory that expresses this phenomenon for Christians. We don’t belong here. The harder we follow after Christ, the less we fit in.  We are most assuredly not at home in this postmodern, godless culture, any more than believers were at home in the pseudo-spiritual culture of the Middle Ages.

The Bible affirms that we are not of this world. Hebrews 13:14 says, ‘For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”  This verse is not a command: “Don’t let the world be your permanent home, but look forward to a better one.” Rather it is a fact, a statement of reality. For those who are true believers in Jesus Christ, this world is NOT our home. We are wanderers, travelers on our way to our true home.

When we moved to Venezuela, even though I had grown up there, I felt awkward and out of place. The culture was so different! On the surface the culture seemed very similar to American culture.  We lived in a fairly modern city with highways, shopping malls high rise apartment buildings, diners, and restaurants. If you were to buzz over the city in a small Cessna, you would be unlikely to note major differences between it an American city. But on the ground, the differences quickly surfaced. The language, the food, the values! All different. I felt a constant sense of awkwardness, an awareness that I likely looked out of place to them as well.Alianas a synonym forforeignertook on a whole new significance.

But humans are amazingly resilient. We assimilate to our surroundings. I became accustomed to the culture. I lost some of the awkwardness. I used to love it when someone would act surprised that I was actually a foreigner. It thrilled me to think I had adjusted enough to fool some people about my true citizenship. Venezuela was not my home of citizenship.  The fact remained that I belonged to another country. But I settled in. I adjusted.

And this is where the word picture pricks my conscience. Am I adjusting to this world–this “not my home” place? The fact remains my citizenship is in heaven. But have I settled in? Have I gotten comfortable? Is the awkwardness rare?  Do I look like I belong here? Because I don’t….and living as though I do is a lie against my true identity, my True Family.

2 Responses to "Do I Belong?"

  • Well stated. However, there is a tension in that we must maneuver in whatever culture we find ourselves and be at peace enough to win the lost around us with the winsomeness of Christ. I say “peace” because we have to be able to focus on others instead of survival. For this we have Jesus!

    1 Jessica said this (March 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm) Reply

    • Excellent way to put it. Our pilgrimage here affords us opportunities to participate in His global glory that we will never have again. We can’t afford to miss out.

      2 Tabitha Joy said this (March 27, 2012 at 8:22 am) Reply

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