by Jan Silvious
Malcolm Muggeridge once said, "The ultimate disaster that can befall us is to feel ourselves at home on this earth."
Why is this the ultimate disaster? Because making plans and priorities based on what we see removes the element of believing God for the unseen. When we become too earthbound, we're asking for trouble-worry, depression, panic, fear, and greed. And the list goes on and on. All of these emotions deal with holding on to the people and possessions that are part of life on this earth. So this is a message for those who own citizenship in another world, since only those of us who see ourselves as sojourners on earth have any inkling that we are not permanent residents here, that we are just camping out!
The average newscast usually mentions something about our world that is wearing out or being used up, along with the name of some person or group who is willing to go to extreme measures to save the planet from destruction. These people are to be commended for their efforts, though the Bible tells us that their cause is only temporary. "The World and its desires pass away " (1 John 2:17). Since we know it's all going to go up in smoke someday, believers need to keep their bags backed and their tent poles loose if we want to stay emotionally healthy, spiritually tuned in, and ready for a new heaven and a new earth.
"Don't be too earthbound" is a popular piece of advice. "Great," you say. "But how do I avoid it?"
Try these suggestions for living like a stranger on the earth:
1. Each morning, wake up determined to take God at His word, no matter what happens. He has told us that He is in control. If your citizenship is in heaven, you can bow to His sovereignty and believe that no matter how chaotic and bizarre circumstances may seem, our God reigns.
2. Don't try to measure God's fairness by what happens. It wasn't fair for Jesus to have to hang on a cross, but we know now that there was a purpose far beyond what could be seen. Jesus Himself gave the whole situation to "God who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23 NASB). The last chapter hasn't been written, but justice will prevail.
3. Keep reading His Word. That's where God gives us a glimpse of the other land of which we are citizens and of the kingdom where He reigns. It's almost like reading a travel book before visiting a foreign country.
If you are feeling too much at home on earth and you are worried, depressed, and panicky, maybe you should take some time to ponder the Book and think about the wonderful journey we will all soon be taking.
from The 5-Minute Devotional, Zondervan, © 1991 Jan Silvious