Just Visiting

Life is often a hurricane of trouble. Pain, stress, worries, fears bombard us daily. How do we face them with courage? What can non-Christians gain from God’s plan? How can we all keep from being consumed by the stresses of this life?
Jesus said of his apostles, “they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16, NKJV). The world is all that is at enmity with God. He explains, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of this world, just as I am not of this world” (John 17:14). In John 17:17, Jesus tells them they will be set apart by the truth of Scripture.
God’s will condemns the pursuit of fleshly pleasure and pride that directs our steps. God is therefore hated. When Christians take a stand with him for absolute truth, they will find the same anger.
Christians have been chosen out of the world. While Christians live in the world, they despair over the same problems and challenges everyone else faces. Jesus said, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). While God will not take away these problems, he will provide a way to overcome them.
We are to become visitors in this world. If I travel to Seattle, I will settle into my hotel room and relax. I will enjoy the room and try to maintain its neatness, but it won’t be mine. I will have no interest in it, other than the service it provides. In the morning I will pick up a local paper and read the sports and national news. I will discard the local news as it has no bearing on me. It won’t matter if a planned road project and its threat of a tax increase passes or fails. Since I am not a citizen of Seattle, I will be unconcerned.
When we understand we are “in, but not of the world” we develop a completely new perspective. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are foreigners and strangers in a foreign land. In a way, we have a different culture and speech than those in the world. This is illustrated by the term “church” which means “the called out.”
This is God’s antidote to the problems of our lives. We will have a way to let them go.
We will develop “spiritual glasses.” When we see a problem, we will put on our spiritual glasses and our new perspective will change our entire mindset. While the problems will still be there, we will see that they have no effect on our soul and relationship to God. In other words, they are not as important as we once thought they were.
When temptations come we can put on our spiritual glasses and ask, “is this worth my soul?” We will develop a spiritually mature perspective with an eye to eternity.
These spiritual glasses will alter our perspective on people. We see a drunk stumbling out of a bar and falling over everything. Without our spiritual vision, we laugh and dismiss him as worthless. Donning our spiritual glasses, we suddenly see him as a soul badly in need of salvation and love.
When we are angry at loved ones, we will ask if this argument is worth our relationship and our place with God.
Our spiritual lives will change as we look out at the world with different lenses. When we see the world as God would have us to, the entire world will be brighter, more hopeful.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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