Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
Name Tags: You Are... (Part 5)
Aliens & Strangers
He has removed my brothers far from me,
And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
My relatives have failed,
And my close friends have forgotten me.
Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants,
Count me as a stranger;
I am an alien in their sight.
Job 19:13-15 (NKJV)
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
And an alien to my mother's children;
Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
Psalm 69:8-9 (NKJV)
Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me..
Matthew 25:44-45 (NKJV)
Being called an alien or stranger seems like an undesirable name tag. Because people feel a need to belong. So they put on their home team's uniform and conform to its popular standards. Back pats and high fives are mutual goals.
Leaders rise on peer pressure grading scales. They gather in smug cliques and clubs and groups. Others fall into the grip of bullies. They're isolated and dying inside... because they couldn't or wouldn't fit in.
When I reflect on some of our churches, I've seen cultural Christianity: gathering in smug cliques and pews and groups: reveling in their secure positions; reviling people who don't look like them.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: You're called to be God's insiders, which puts you among earth's outsiders. You are strangers in a puffed-up church. But if Job, King David and Jesus were treated like strangers by their kin, you're in the very best company. You have lessons to learn here and now:
1) People pleasing (rampant among kin) is expressly forbidden by God.*
2) Sometimes, family will let you down, so never prefer kin over God.*
3) If you think your real place is on earth, you are dangerously mistaken.*
4) Realizing Heaven is your home gives you a transcending perspective.*
5) God is very clear through His Word: be kind to aliens and strangers.*
6) God can prefer humble outsiders, so Christians shouldn't be uppity.*
7) For all of these good reasons and more, be thankful to be called aliens.
To Be Continued...
*1) 'Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ' (Galatians 1:10, NIV).
*2) 'He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me' (Matthew 10:37, NASB).
*3) 'If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world' (John 15:19, NIV).
*4) 'But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His Own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control' (Philippians 3:21-21, NLT).
*5) 'The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God' (Leviticus 19:34, NKJV).
*6) But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NIV).
*6) The Parable of the Dinner: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+14%3A16-24&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Name Tags: You Are... series.