July 16 – United: Country – Philippians 3

Read Philippians 3:15-21

God has given me the opportunity to travel to many countries of the world. Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve carried a passport that identifies me as a citizen of the United States. That passport provides many privileges I don’t fully understand or appreciate.

On more than one occasion when heading through passport control, I have been directed to a sign that reads “US citizens”. Usually people in that line are processed more quickly than those in other lines.

Even though I carry a passport often envied by the rest of the world, I also carry the marks of a tourist: Don’t speak the language. Don’t understand traffic patterns. Oblivious to local customs. Need a guide just to get around. Take lots of photos.

You get the idea!

No matter how many privileges I have been granted as an American citizen overseas, one thing is always the same… I get a lump in my throat whenever I see the skyline of New York City from our inbound flight. When the plane lands in the United States, I find myself thinking, “It’s good to be home.”

But the truth is… New York City is not home for me either. Neither is Cleveland which feels closer & even more familiar – but still isn’t home.

It’s not until I pull in the driveway of our house, walk in the front door, and give my wife a big hug that I feel like I’m “home.”

In Philippians 3 Paul reminds all believers that this world is not home for us. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20a).  When we believe what Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross and receive his forgiveness, our citizenship changes. We are no longer citizens of this world.

We are here on special assignment as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), but this is not home.  As citizens of heaven, we have one primary task: to invite as many people as possible to join us in our eternal home with Jesus. But this earth is definitely not home.

If you find yourself thinking, “Where is this world headed? What’s going to happen to our country if it continues down this road? Where is all this headed”? Remember – you aren’t home yet.

You’re not a citizen of this world.

The old song says: “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through; my treasures are laid up, somewhere behind the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

But someday, as a follower of Jesus, you will see him face to face. He will transform your diseased, pain-ridden, or crippled body so that it “will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21b). You will wake up in heaven … and then, and only then, you will be home!

 Bob Fetterhoff

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