Strangers and Pilgrims

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Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

God has allowed me the opportunity to travel the world. One of the adjustments you have to make when you go to a foreign country is each place's customs. What I may do or say in the United States may not be accepted in a foreign country because their customs are different. Not only must I make adjustments because I am in a foreign country, but those in that country know that I am a foreigner because I don't look, talk, or act like them.

One main reason God used the people that we read about in Hebrews 11 is because they embraced the fact that they were “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” They understood that when they got saved, they were no longer to live like the world, nor were they to live the world’s culture because they were strangers and pilgrims; they were from a different country, which is Heaven. Verse 14 says about these people, “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” God continues in verse 16, “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.” My friend, when you got saved, your citizenship was changed from whatever country you were born to being a citizen of Heaven. Therefore, your culture should also change to be like Heaven because you are a stranger and pilgrim on your way to Heaven. Let me point out a couple thoughts about being a stranger and a pilgrim.

First, when you get saved, your worldly culture is no longer your culture. People often say to excuse why they do things a certain way, “This is my culture.” Your culture is to be Heaven’s culture. Your characteristics as a believer are no longer to be like where you came from, but they are to be like where you are going. You are a pilgrim and a stranger on this earth once you got saved. You are headed for another country, and that country is Heaven.

Second, when your culture and Heaven’s culture conflict, you are to embrace Heaven’s culture. You may say, “This is how we do things as a…” Your nationality is no longer to dictate your culture; your destination of Heaven as a believer is to dictate your culture. As a believer, you are to lay aside your nationality and its culture to live the culture of Heaven on this earth. I know this is not a popular teaching, but this is exactly how a believer is to live. Your ethnicity, nationality, or region of a country where you are born are not to dictate your culture as a believer because you are a stranger and a pilgrim in this world; your culture is now Heaven’s culture.

Third, you will never make a difference in this world for Christ until you embrace Heaven’s culture for living. The biggest reason these people in Hebrews 11 made such a difference with their lives is because they embraced Heaven’s culture as their own. You will never make a difference on this earth until you embrace Heaven’s culture as your own. You are to talk, dress, and live like you are from Heaven because you are a stranger and pilgrim on this earth. The question you must ask yourself; do people notice you are different? It is easy to identify people from a different country, and it should be easy for others to identify you as a believer because you live in Heaven’s culture on this earth.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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