I have been living in Mexico for 17 years, working at a home for needy children. I am not a Mexican citizen. I am foreigner, or an alien in this country. I was born in the United States; Denver, Colorado to be exact. I am not really a citizen of the United States either, if one happens to be thinking biblically about the topic of citizenship. There are quite a few scripture verses that express the idea that all Christians are strangers, pilgrims and aliens to this planet. This world is not our home.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and aliens, to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own…They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:16

Through these verses God lets us know that we, as Christians, adopted children of God, are strangers, aliens, exiles, foreigners and pilgrims as we exist in this present world. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are longing for a better country, a heavenly one.

I used to read Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, as inspiring, but also somewhat confusing. Twice, the author of Hebrews say that these great people of faith, did not receive what they were promised. What was I to make of that? God made a promise to people, and then they never received what was promised! What kind of God is that? But, after awhile, I came to the conclusion, that as they grew in their relationship with God, they realized that no earthly promise, no matter how grand, could ever compare to the heavenly reality of being in the immediate presence of God and living in eternal bliss with the Creator and Savior. The earthly promises faded in importance as the heavenly reality became more apparent.

So, if we are living on this earth as exiles, how should we live. Perhaps like the exiled Jews in Babylon. Jeremiah tells them, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 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 29:4-7

I think this is a good word for us as we live as strangers and exiles in this world, awaiting and longing for the time when we will finally be home.

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If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. C.S. Lewis