In the hours immediately preceding his crucifixion, Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all who would come to faith in Him because of their testimony:
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:14-18, NIV)
Because we are Jesus’ disciples, our home is Heaven. We walk this earth as foreigners, aliens, and strangers. We do not belong to this world. However, He sends us into it. As His ambassadors, our mission is to build His Kingdom in every area of life.
You and I are foreigners.
Strangers. We are different from most of the world around us because we belong to Jesus. We think and speak differently. We view the world from a different perspective. We act in a manner that, frankly, the world views as strange and even incomprehensible. Quite simply, to people who don’t know Jesus, we are odd. We might as well be aliens from a foreign country.
Perhaps that is exactly what God intended.
Because of the jarring contrast that exists between citizens of heaven and citizens of earth, God’s goodness can shine with greater intensity, His nature can be portrayed more clearly, and His saving grace can be illustrated in high-definition clarity.
We are not of this world. And, nowhere is this more apparent than in our homes. Being not of this world has huge ramifications for our families. This is evident when we compare what the world values with what we value when we’ve built our lives on the foundation of His Word, the guidance of His Spirit, and the hope of our eternal home with Him.
There are at least three ways in which our homes are different than the world because, as Christians, we are not of this world.
Our marriage covenants preach the gospel
In a world in which marriage contracts rarely last beyond the point at which they become inconvenient, Christian marriages can shine. Most marriages will fail. That’s because most are built on crumbling foundations and the mistaken belief that marriage guarantees the happy endings they’ve seen in the movies.
As people who are not of this world, we understand that the most important thing about our marriage covenants is that they are living, breathing representations of the sacrificial, covenant-making love of our God. We recognize that we cannot do it on our own and that a husband and a wife are utterly dependent upon Christ to be the glue that holds them together. Our marriages give us the opportunity to demonstrate the gospel to people who simply cannot understand how it is possible for a marriage to last. By honoring Christ in our marriages, we can point the world to the only One who can be the Source and Sustainer of true love.
We raise kids who love Jesus
The world’s value system teaches us to raise quiet and respectful kids who get good grades, follow the rules, and who grow up to be good citizens and responsible adults. Most parents think their primary role is to teach their kids to manage their behaviors, to look good in public, and (if we’re being honest) to not cause them embarrassment. So, most parents settle for behavior modification as their primary mode of operation.
Because we’re not of this world, we understand parenting in a completely different way. A favorite author of mine, Paul Tripp, says, “The deepest need in the life of every child is for a relationship with God. It’s the thing for which the child was created.” Because they belong to God, our first and primary role as parents is to model and teach—to equip—them to know and love Jesus more than anything else in the world. All of parenting is, at the heart, helping our children discover their profound need for Jesus and to help them grow into His disciples. Everything else is founded upon, follows, and flows from that all-important relationship.
We demonstrate generosity
We live in a world in which people deify the mighty dollar. The pursuit of more stuff is a powerful motivator in the lives of so many and conspicuous consumption is the norm. The promise of a life of security, freedom from stress, recreation, and plenty—the good life—is the empty goal toward which people strive (although, ironically, they never quite seem to get there).
As people who are not of this world, we take full advantage of opportunities to demonstrate extravagant generosity. Because we have been given so much, we cultivate habits of generous living. This certainly includes our families’ priorities of giving tithes and offerings but it goes way beyond. We open our homes to others, demonstrating hospitality, and extending Christ’s welcome. We gladly give our time and talents to bless one another, our neighbors, our coworkers, and our friends in Christ’s name. And, we never stop looking for opportunities to give to others as Jesus has given to us.
Christian friend, it’s OK if you’re not speaking the same language as everyone around you, if you feel out of place, or if people regard you as strange. Be different. Lean into it. When you are not of this world, your home can reflect God’s holy nature and His gracious desire to redeem and restore, save and sanctify, to bring peace, joy, fullness, and eternal life.