As Christians, This Earth is Not Our Home.
I’ve lived in almost every part of the city of Chicago. If you’re a college student you probably know the feeling of not having a permanent home especially during this COVID season. There’s a few things that I’ve learned through being a nomad for almost all of my adult life.
- I’m horrible at moving. But trash bags work for packing clothes.
- I get bored quickly in a place I live. My poor husband! I’ve tried to move about 6 times during this pandemic.
- You can live anywhere for 3 months.
- Lastly, this earth is not my home. I’m only passing through. I am so so so grateful for that perspective. Because no matter what my home is with Christ. John 14:3 says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
… So just call me a nomad. This earth is not my home… I’ve decided to place my identity and belonging in the Family of God.
Not Finding Family in the People of God is like Staying in a Hotel When You Have a Brand New Home Waiting for You.
The first time I remember feeling like I didn’t have a home was when I was 12 years old. I had grown up in an old Victorian house in Joliet. The house looked a lot like the Victorians around Oak Park. My dad is a landscaper so the gardens really felt magical. When I was twelve my parents decided to move to an old 70s ranch that they were fixing up.
There was a period of time where we were living in a hotel room because the old house sold and the new house wasn’t ready yet. Let me tell you, as soon as that house had carpeting in one room and a bathroom that was running we moved in.
Now how ridiculous would it be if we would have stayed in that small hotel room if the house was ready to go? Or worse we moved into this beautiful new house and decided to go back to the hotel room?
That’s how some of us are living today. We are walking around as if we do not have a home. As if we do not belong to a family.
We can live homeless, spiritually.
We put our identity in what we do. Our career. But you could be retiring and have no idea what’s next.
Or you could feel at home when everyone likes you but as soon as you don’t feel liked you don’t know what to do.
Or you feel like people are only family when they agree with you.
Another thing that I’ve definitely struggled with is that we identify with a political group. That’s where our hope is, and if someone isn’t in our political group we can’t feel safe around that person. Our identity is wrapped up in the here and now and not in our eternal identity with God.
Another way we can live spiritually homeless is when we think that our sanctification or spiritual growing up depends on us. We aren’t resting on God’s grace and mercy. We think it depends on us to work on ourselves. We are living in the old and not accepting the New. That we are fully whole and loved because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. Because we don’t rely on God’s mercy and grace, we are unable to extend mercy to others.
We are going to look at 1 Peter 2:9-10 where Peter walks us through what it looks like to find belonging in God’s people.
We are set apart – 1 Peter 2:9
Christians were starting to stand out as not “Jewish”. The Roman empire was pretty tolerant of the Jewish practices, but they were not tolerant of this different unique “religion”. It was not a government approved religion.
Have you felt like you don’t act like everyone at your job, the school you work at? Maybe when you are with your kid’s friends? Has others stated -“wait you aren’t acting and saying everything that everyone else is saying”?
Peter uses common language that Jewish believers would have understood to describe how we belong in God’s people.
- Chosen race – The Jewish people have always been God’s people. They were a small people group that God decided to use in history and still does. As believers we are drafted into the promise of being called out. We don’t replace, but we are able to have belonging to God through Jesus Christ.
2. Royal priesthood – There was only a select group of people from the tribe of Levi that were allowed to go to God. When Christ died on the cross and rose again on the third day he allowed all of us to have access to the Father.
3. Holy Nation – Holiness means set apart for God. We will look different from others.
4. A People For His Own Possession – I will never forget picking out John’s wedding ring. I needed to find something that would last. I was thinking wood… Then I was thinking antler rings… I settled on a stirling silver ring that I could get fixed if I needed too. John never takes that thing off! His wedding band tells the ladies that John is taken. He’s mine. Sorry! Haha not sorry. That’s what this phrase means “A people for His own possession” meaning, we belong to God. We have belonging. We are taken.
We Have a Purpose
Not only does God give us a sense of identity by setting us apart, giving us a name and a sense of belonging, He also gives us a purpose.
“Proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.“1 Peter 2:9-10
Tell your story! What has God saved you from? He has given you freedom and still does. He has brought you from darkness to light and that gives you a story! Whether you are a teacher, sales associate, marketing manager…. What ever you do and whoever you run into… tell your story!
We now have a family.
Not only do we have a name, and identity, and a purpose, we also have a family.
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people...”1 Peter 2:10.
Let’s look at the context again. For the gentiles, they never had a unifying worship experience. For the Jewish believers they Didn’t belong with the Jews and now didn’t belong in the Roman Empire.
Political season has been hard. You’re either in this camp or another camp. This culture’s identity has been very wrapped up in politics. I am thankful that I have an identity with Christ, a purpose that is eternal, and a family to belong to.
The feeling of family exists the strongest in the local church. That’s why I am such a huge fan of getting involved in a small local church body. My husband and I attend Judson Church of Oak Park. It’s a smaller church in the West side of Chicago. The people at this church has became family to John and I. We have so many different ages, cultures and backgrounds at our church, but the unity and feeling of family is amazing. My prayer for you is that you find a local church body to find belonging and family.
You once had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Mercy is the last ingredient in the recipe of belonging. This is what creates a family.
Perfectionism can stand in the way of mercy. Perfectionism is a really difficult thing. If we have high expectations for others to live up to acting like a Christian we are going to be disappointed. Also this is not what God wanted for us. The Jewish people at that time did not have mercy. They lived their whole lives having to follow the law and extra rules the pharisees created.
Some of you were raised in a way where we were expected to be perfect. If perfection was not achieved you received the silent treatment or you were shamed or worse you receive physical punishment. God’s family is not like that.
No more. Through Jesus Christ we have access to the Father. We have mercy through Jesus. We can be a people of mercy. Those who have not had a place to call home can find home in the family of God.
The family of God has experienced mercy and now we get to be the place and people who extend mercy to each other.
You might be here today and feel like you don’t belong anywhere. Maybe you’re going through a divorce, maybe you had to move home with family members who don’t feel like family. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one who felt like the only family you had. Don’t stay in a one room hotel room when you have a seven acre home on a pond… Find belonging in God’s people today.
Do you need a place to call home? Are you feeling alone? If you don’t know Jesus as your savior, you are not a part of God’s people. However, there is good news: you don’t have to do ANYTHING, but believe that Jesus is the son of God and stop of living for yourself. Jesus did the rest. What is holding you back!? Today is your day.
If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know more please send me a message I would love to connect.