The Fourth of July in America is known as “Independence Day”. It is the day that we celebrate the founding of our country. Times like this always make me think of home.
The definition of “home” is pretty cut and dry. I mean, if I asked you what home is, you’d probably be able to give me an accurate response. It is where we live, it’s the place of our residence. It can also mean a “final, closed or ultimate position” (as in “driving a nail home”) or to “a vital sensitive core” (the truth struck home).
But what is home? Home is safety, home is love, home is where you feel secure and safe and protected. Home is where you rest and recharge and relax. Home is where the struggle can be left outside.
I love America. I am grateful to have born in this country, to be afforded the freedoms and the liberties that have been given to this people. I know that there are places in this world where opening up a Bible (or scrolling to biblegateway.com) is simply not allowed. I am aware that there are people in this world today who will soon die for their faith. So I am truly grateful for this place that I live today.
But it is not home.
Philippians 3:20 (in the Amplified) says: “But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior,”
We as Christians have a different home, we have a dwelling that is prepared for us. The Bible promises us that God has prepared a place for us (I Corinthians 2:7-9, John 14:2). It tells us that there is a place of rest, of peace, of love, where hurts and pains fade away like they never existed in the presence of our loving Father.
Revelations 21:4 says that “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
This world, everything we see in it, its fleeting. It passes away. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that its all vanity. Its meaningless nonsense. Life is literally an US magazine. Maybe it is interesting in a moment and you can get caught up in what it says, but at the end of the day did you really gain anything by reading it? Did it help you? Did it change you for the positive? Or did it just fill you with negativity?
That is this world. That is why the Bible tells us that friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4). That is why it is easier for a camel to travel through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven (Matthew 19:24). That is why the love of money is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10).
We as Christians, ultimately, have one thing we need to understand. That is that we are pilgrims, we are travelers passing by. This is not our home. We can be grateful for what it provides us, we can be grateful for the niceties in comparison to other places we pass through, but it is not our home.
Hebrews 11 tells us of many great men and women of faith. There is a passage in particular that speaks no this subject. In verse 13 the Bible tells us that these men died not receiving their promises (that of having descendants like the stars in the heaven and the sand of the sea). But they were persuaded of the promise, they confessed the promise, they lived by them. And moreso they knew and claimed their status as strangers and pilgrims of the earth.
It continues to tell us in verse 16 that they desired a better country, a heavenly country. And that should be our desire as well. A heavenly country. To be pilgrims and strangers of our God.
Hebrews 11:16 – “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
Psalms 39:12 asks “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.”
I Peter 2:11 tells us that we are strangers and aliens in this world and that the lusts of this world wage war on our very soul.
Our citizenship, our homeland is not of this world. Our home, our home is greater than we can ever imagine. Its more beautiful than we can ever dream. And our tears? Our pain? Our hurt? Our home is so great that they won’t even exist anymore.
And so, on this weekend and many others, I think about home. And I understand what Paul means in Philippians chapter 1 when he says that he is pressed between two. That he has work left here, that he has things he has to take care of on this earth, but his desire? His desire is to be with Christ.
Because today, like many other days, I understand what he wrote.
Because I just want to go home.