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Strangers and pilgrims (Part 2): Practical steps

According to the Bible, it is possible to practise the scriptural truth of living as strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

1. Confess and constantly remind myself that I am a stranger and pilgrim.

“For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” Heb 11:13, 14

There is always this constant battle against climbing the societal ladder of career, position.

Feasts, customs and practices in the Old Testament were meant as constant reminders of God’s deliverance and the way to live such that “it may go well with you.” (Deut 12:28)

Keep reminding myself: This world is not my home.

2. Things on earth are vanity.

“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Ecc 5:10

When we buy a new gadget, the thrill is lost after some time. Then, we need another latest model of the gadget or some other hype in the market.

“Things on earth cannot satisfy” will be a testimony of every truthful human on earth. The reason why this sinful world cannot satisfy me is because I was made for another world (Rev 4:11; Col 3:1).

3. Desire a better country. Shun the worldly system.

“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.” Heb 11:16

What does it mean when the Bible says, “God is not ashamed”?

Imagine a boy in good clothes picking and eating in the garbage. People gather near and ridicule. Embarrassed dad spots him and pulls him away by the ear saying, “You have brought me disgrace in front of the people.”

A rich dad’s son picking in the garbage seems like an impossible event, yet aren’t some of the children of God doing the same? Is God embarrassed with me at times when Satan, the accuser of the brethren points a finger at me? He tells God, “Your child is picking in the garbage of the world. Isn’t he supposed to be a pilgrim on earth?”

The cisterns of this world are broken. There is a wicked and perverse generation drinking iniquity like water. Though rich and influential, still Job in the Bible lived different from the world!

God’s kingdom principles are totally opposite (180°) to world’s value system.

World’s value system God’s Kingdom principles Reference
Store treasures on earth Store treasures in heaven Matt 6:20,21
Highly esteemed among men Abomination unto God Luke 16:15
Blessing is getting Blessing is giving Acts 20:35
Wide is the gate, broad is the way, that leads to destruction Strait is the gate, narrow is the way, which leads unto life Matt 7:13, 14
Many go to hell Few find heaven Matt 7:13, 14


4. Stop buying and accumulating things – Lay up treasures in heaven

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (1 Pet 2:11)

Before buying, ask God if I really need that or is it just a lust stemming out of seeking honour from men or for fulfilling a luxurious lifestyle.

Flights have baggage limits because the airlines know the human craving for goods. Irrespective of these laws, when asked to reduce the overweight luggage, some are desperate and confused as to what to get rid of from their bulging baggage!

I have had the sinking feeling of regret immediately after I had bought some unnecessary stuff. Before buying, the mind is deceitful and rationalizes my lust for material things.

Less luggage, more comfort.

House shifting is easier if there is less luggage. (Even then, now there are Packers & Movers to encourage accumulation!)

Invest for eternity. Go and share the Gospel, which you have already received by God’s grace, thereby pulling some out of the fire (Jude 23). Hear the cries of the poor and give to the needy (Prov 21:13,26; 22:9; 28:7). Go and encourage someone. Ask God to open doors for doing these (Phil 4:3).

5. Start giving

It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Ask God to give you grace to live with less stuff on earth. He will show things to remove and where to give them away.

6. Read and obey God’s commandments

“Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” Psa 19:54

Increase my faith by reading about the new heaven and the new earth. The city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10). The city which needs no sun or moon for the Lamb of God is the light thereof.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev 22:14

Being a stranger and pilgrim does not mean being fanatical or being radical just for the sake of being so nor does it mean being an ascetic. Being a pilgrim means that I’m only travelling through this temporal world (2 Cor 4:18) and my destination is yonder in the land where I’ll see my Redeemer face to face (Job 19:25). I will bow down and worship God, clothed in royal robes I never deserved, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb, who is worthy of all glory and honour and power and praise for ever and ever!

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