Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homesick? No Place for That Here

When your mind is of the wild and untamed haggard type, most everything that passes through it gets questioned. Sometimes, beliefs that I have had for years suddenly seem to be very wrong.
Take for instance: Today I heard this week's Billboard #1 Contemporary Christian song, "Where I Belong" performed by the group Building 429. Don't get me wrong. It's a great song. Trouble is, its message isn't Biblical. It repeats a non-Biblical theme that has been popular in Christian music for decades: "This earth is not my home. Heaven is my home."

"All I know is, I'm not home yet.
This is not where I belong.
Take this world and give me Jesus.
This is not where I belong."

Some popular songs go so far as to declare that we should be homesick, wanting to be in heaven instead of here. That whole concept is anti-Gospel, non-Biblical. In my haggard mind I consider it to be a deception designed to keep us from being what we are called to be.

Other than in John 14.1-3, where Jesus talks about His Father's house, and says "I am going there to prepare a place for you," you won't find anything in the Bible that says this earth is not our home, and that somehow we don't belong here. In fact, even John 14 can be understood without any thought of "home" at all.

This generally accepted message is supposed to express the hope that we have as Christians. And while it's true that all Christians hope to be in heaven after this life is over, that is not the Hope that the Bible says we have.

Our Hope is best expressed by the apostle Paul, all through his writings. I can sum it up with three references. In a section on freedom in Christ, he says, "For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope." (Galatians 5.5) Paul tells the Colossians that he is presenting "the word of God in its fullness," something that once was a mystery, but is now disclosed to God's people: "...Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1.27)

What our real Christian Hope is, is to be righteous. No, that's not quite right. That's the way the world thinks about it. No, our Hope is to become righteousness itself. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5.21) Not that we might be righteous. Not that we might have God's righteousness. No. That we might become the righteousness of God.

Mull that over in your mind for a while. It may take a while for it to sink in. This ain't the "milk" of the Gospel here. It's what the writer to the Hebrews was talking about: "You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness." (Hebrews 5.12-13)

Sure, we hope to be in heaven after this life. But our real Hope is to have Christ living in and through us, making us the very righteousness of God. Here. Today. Being salt and light in a decaying and dark world. Being His feet and hands in a world that needs Him more than ever.
No place here for being homesick.

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