Monday, March 31, 2008

Called to be Pilgrims

What is it about the world that so draws us to itself? As I read through scripture it is clear that we are called to be pilgrims in this world as we journey to our final destination, the better country, a heavenly one (Heb 11:16). Many passages look at the believer as a sojourner, an exile and a stranger in the world. The picture is that what God calls us to is not to find our home here but to see our place as our final destination

Passages in scripture that speak to believers as sojourners:
Gen 23:4 - Abraham refers to himself as a sojourner and foreigner
Gen 47:9 - Jacob calls himself a sojourner
Psalm 39:12 - David refers to himself as a sojourner
Phil 3:20 – Paul speaks of where our true citizenship resides, in heaven
1 Peter 1:17 – Peter refers to the believers as being in exile
1 Peter 2:11 – Paul in urging believes to be honorable refers to them as sojourners and exiles

This is not a call to remove ourselves from the world but as the puritan Thomas Manton said; “We cannot get out of the world when we please, but we must get the world out of us.” We are to do the work that God has for us to do while He has us here but not let the world take up residence in our hearts. My fear is that too many have become comfortable in this world and allowed it to impinge on the work we are to do in glorifying God.

We should ask ourselves; “if the things of this world were removed and all that was left was God, His Word and His people would we be satisfied. This question is important because if we were to truly live as that which most pleases God would we not give up much of what the world offers and be left with the God, His Word and His people.

The end result is that we as believers should look different from the world around us. This is not a forced difference but one that results from simply living as God dictates in His word. As we live to glorify Him we will stand out in this world and in so doing we will be the light we are called to be. As much as we try and think that we need to look like the world to reach it is would seem that is the difference in us that God uses to draw people to Himself.

In scripture we simply see people living as God dictates in His Word and God drawing people to them. Nowhere do we see “Ex-Gladiators for Christ” or “Former Pharisees for Christ” but we see people changed by the Spirit to be simply Christians. But, today we have so many groups that seem to portray all that is to change is ones viewpoint but in reality when we become a believer we become a new person (1 Cor 5:17).

So let us be the pilgrims we are called to be and not let the world steal our affections.

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