WHERE IS HOME?
If I asked you to describe your home, I would guess you would tell me about the home you live in. Maybe the size, or your décor or perhaps even the things you do to make it feel like home. And honestly, that’s what I would talk about as well.
But I wonder if maybe Jesus would want us to answer differently. With a different perspective in mind. Perhaps an eternal perspective. One that lets us ask the question in a different manner. Friends, where is your “real home?”
Jesus answers that question for us in Scripture in Hebrews 13:14 (NLT):
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
And with that answer, we can see that we are just visiting. We are tourists. Here to walk through this world with a purpose and then return to our real home. Isn’t that just what tourists do?
Close your eyes and tell me what comes to mind when I say the word tourist.
Maybe a little silly, but I picture a woman in cargo shorts, a cozy shirt and hat which blocks the sun and a big camera hanging from her neck.
She doesn’t look the same as the native people who are there. One look at her and you know her home is elsewhere. That she is just visiting.
As followers of Jesus, WE are just visiting. This is not our real home. WE are the tourists. We are here for an assigned purpose. Living out that purpose but after we have fulfilled it, knowing we will be called home. And while we are just visiting, we are called to live like tourists. Think about it for a minute…
LIVING AS TOURISTS
Tourists are different. They are set apart. They have different mindsets and cultures; therefore, they think differently. Because of this, they may act differently. They may do or not do things that the native people do. Their actions may even seem weird or perhaps radical to others. And tourists relate to others differently as well.
They are set apart, because they are different.
So, you may be saying, “Ok I’m following you… but HOW do we live like “Jesus tourists?” How do we live a life that is just visiting? One that is set apart for God?
I think this can be done by looking at 3 aspects of our lives. How we think, how we act, and how we relate to others.
First, to live a life that is set apart we must think differently than the rest of the world around us.
Author Doug Andre tells us that “the human brain is arguably one of the most complex organisms that God has ever designed.” He goes on to say that “it’s estimated that (the) number of thoughts a person has on an average day is 70,000!” And he reminds us that “God designed us to think.” Unfortunately, sometimes our thoughts are not from an eternal perspective.
I mean honestly, Scripture even tells us this:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declared the LORD. Is 55:8 (NIV)
So, how do we think like a tourist? Someone just visiting and set apart.
Luckily, we don’t have to figure out the answer to that question by ourselves. God gave us Scripture that specifically tells us how to handle our thoughts. He tells us to set our thoughts on things above. Eternal things.
Paul details this in “The Prison Letters”– the book of Philippians, which we know that he wrote while in prison for his faith.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Phil 4:8 (NIV)
And as we learn to set our thoughts on things above, we turn to Jesus. Praying for thoughts that glorify God and over time our actions begin to change, and we act differently. People around us take notice. We appear different, and we act set apart. And people can tell that we are tourists. Just visiting.
Scripture reminds us of this in Matthew 5:16 (NIV):
… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Just like God’s Word shines, showing us how to think differently and set our thoughts on things above, Scripture also gives us many examples of ways we can live differently. How to live a life that is set apart.
A SHINING LIGHT
One obvious but oftentimes overlooked example of this is in the Old Testament. As Moses met God on the top of Mount Sinai, God revealed His Holy Instructions for living a Godly life, one which is set apart for God. God gave Moses these Commandments to deliver to God’s people in order to guide them (AND US!) along the way. We can see how these commandments still ring true today!
- Love God above all else
- Worship Him and Him alone
- Keep God’s name sacred
- Rest on God’s day
- Honor and respect your parents
- Do not bring harm to anyone
- Love your spouse
- Don’t take things that don’t belong to you
- Be honest and kind
- Don’t be jealous of others
By living out these instructions, we can live a life set apart for God.
As we change our thought patterns, we learn to change our actions. Friends, as our actions change our hearts begin to change toward others. We start to relate to those around us differently. We choose to love others as God loves us. If you want to learn more about how to relate differently to others as Christians, read this great post – 3 Incredible Ways to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus. Paul talks in depth about this in his letter to the Corinthians. He tells us that we can speak eloquently about our faith, have amazing spiritual gifts and the strongest of faith but if we do not love those around us, we have nothing. He goes on to tell us how to love others, just as God loves us, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV):
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. Love never fails.
It’s no wonder this Scripture is heard at weddings and seen on greeting cards. It is such a beautiful reminder of the way God loves us and how we should love others.
By turning to Scripture, we can see how to live as Jesus tourists. God’s Word helps us to think differently, act differently and relate to others differently. It helps us to live a life that is set apart for God. A life as tourists, who are just visiting until we are called home.
Thank you for your great love for us. Thank you for giving us your Word to help us live lives that honor and glorify you. Open our hearts to focus our thoughts on things above. Things that are noble, pure and true. Let us have actions that love you and those around us. Thank you for what you’re doing in our lives and for guiding us along the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.