September 24, 2008

The Joy of Transformation

Philippians 3:17-21

Our citizenship is in heaven.
Philippians 3:20


The legal card issued to me by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service described me as a “resident alien.” Though I was a tax-paying resident, I was also continually reminded that I was a noncitizen who didn’t quite belong. My citizenship was elsewhere.

The same thing is true for followers of Jesus. Christians are “resident aliens” in a sinful world. Just as cultures recognize distinct differences in each other, Jesus’ followers know that the world’s values are alien to citizenship in heaven. The commitment to truth is alien to the world’s claim that nothing can be certain or sure. The behavior of purity is alien to deception and immorality. Disease and death are alien to health and life. The culture of the world is never truly compatible with the culture of heaven, and vice-versa.

Therefore, our present joy will be even greater when we meet Jesus face to face. While we and this world are wasting away, there will be great joy when the old will pass away and the transformation that has already begun will be completed and we will be like Christ. True believers eagerly await the day when they will live as citizens in their true home.

What is your spiritual citizenship? Are you concerned with “earthly things,” or do you eagerly anticipate Jesus’ arrival?

Dear Lord, rule my life and prepare me to meet Jesus. Do not allow the world to define who I am or the hope I have. Help me to trust in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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