As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19
I have two passports – one from America, the land of my birth, and one from Britain, my adopted country. I will always have divided loyalties, whether in which sports team to support or which lingo to speak. But my most important citizenship is my heavenly one, to which Jesus refers here. For he has chosen us out of the world, and we do not belong to it.
What does it mean to be a citizen of heaven? To be “in the world but not of it”? Christians throughout the ages have interpreted this question differently. Some remove themselves completely from the world. Others so accommodate it that they lose their Christian distinctiveness. Many struggle somewhere between the two poles, seeking to keep in tension engaging the world on the one hand while being a transforming force in it on the other.
As we keep our sights fixed on God’s promises of his heavenly city, we will see our struggles and travails with his eternal perspective. He can pull us back when we are too engaged with worldly things, such as watching a dodgy television program. He can shed wisdom on the challenges we face, reminding us that he will never leave nor forsake us. He will strengthen and undergird us, helping us to be his witnesses in a world hungry for grace.
Heavenly Father, as aliens and strangers on earth we long for a heavenly country. Help us to live by faith.