How to begin, how to begin! Looking around us, the world seems to be falling apart before our very eyes. God, how can we have peace in our hearts to face the daily barrage of bad news from every source? Turn on the television news, it’s bad news. Listen to the radio? Better not tune it to a news station. It’s bad news! Open a newspaper? The headlines will be filled with more of the same. It’s bad news! How do we as Christians maintain our cheery attitude in the face of all this bad news?
First, we need to remember that we are not citizens of this world. What? You can’t mean that, Pastor Tim! You are probably saying, “I am privileged to vote in elections for this very reason. I AM A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!” Well, it kind of reminds me of an old saying. This isn’t scriptural, but it is certainly true. As Christians, we may live “in the world, but don’t have to be of the world.” We all know that we must live in this physical world. However, we do not have to participate in everything Satan’s world has to offer. Sexual immorality, greed, drugs, drunkenness, adulteries, etc. All these are part of the world, but one who does not participate in these things is not of this world. Now your next question is probably, “What do you mean by the term ‘Satan’s world’?” According to I John 5:19, Satan is the ruler and controller of things here on earth, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” So then, let’s get back to the citizenship question. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Alistair Begg writes in his blog titled “Six Marks of a Heavenly Citizen,” To be a Christian is to be a citizen of heaven, and to be a citizen of heaven is to be a stranger and exile while on earth. This status is not only in name; it results in a true break with the world, so that Christians no longer do as the world does, and the world often resents them for it (1 Peter 4:3–4). In the words of Hebrews 11:16, ‘They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.’ Christians are to be recognizable by their strangeness in this world, because Christians are resident aliens here.’ So much more could be written disconnecting the negative things of this world with the positive things of Heaven. For lack of space, let’s condense it to this. We must not let ourselves get bogged down in the worries and problems of this world. Yes, we must live in this world. But we cannot be of this world, and as such, we cannot let the worries and problems get us down. For once again, quoting the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Dear friends, let’s follow the great example of Paul. Let’s not get bogged down in the barrage of bad news coming from every corner of our world. Instead, let’s keep our focus on Heaven, the place where there will be no more sorrow and no more tears. Press on, dear friends! PRESS ON!