Stranger in a Strange Land
I have been a stranger in a strange land. Exodus 2:22 (KJV)
The strangest thing I saw when I moved to Minnesota had to be the hundreds of ice houses and trucks on the frozen lakes. I ice fished once as a child, sitting on a bucket, freezing. These heated campers on ice though, were bizarre things. I was a complete stranger to this strangeness.
Moses, in today’s passage, referred to himself as a stranger in a strange land after fleeing Egypt for Midian. Admittedly, I am taking the phrase a little out of context then, when I use it to refer to our condition as Christians here on earth.
Paul, writing to the Ephesians, said that we were once lost, living as citizens of this world (Ephesians 2:1-2) but now, in Christ, we have our citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20). The problem for us, is that like Moses, we still live in the strange land.
Peter wrote that as strangers, we must do what it takes to abstain from the passions of the flesh, as they war against the greater reality of our spirit life (1 Peter 2:11). Much of our conflict and self-inflicted misery is that we live as though this world is our home, when it clearly is not. We try to find meaning in its destructive pleasures when we were made to find our meaning in God.
I once caused much misery in my pursuit of pleasure in a pill. Now, living in sobriety, I find other ways to go wrong. Over the last couple of years, one of the most obvious ways I have failed has been to pursue affirmation and meaning in the things of this world. Work, exercise and other people are not inherently harmful, but when I find my purpose and meaning in those sources instead of God, I distance myself from my true home.
The things of this world cannot satisfy us and will eventually collapse into misery. Like the frozen lakes in spring, those things will eventually melt and fail to support the weight of our expectations and needs
When we find ourselves agitated and distant from God, we often have no further to look than the focus of our gaze over the last couple of days. Have we been pretending to be a citizen of this world, focusing only on its cares and distractions? Though we are citizens of another world, we are not there yet, so daily, we must choose to keep our focus on God.