By Jon Bloom
There is a homelessness that is distinctly Christian. Because a Christian is no longer of this world, even though he or she remains in the world (John 17:14–15).
Most of us understand this abstractly. We know that Jesus chose us out of this world (John 15:19) and that Hebrews calls us to live as “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
But the concrete experience of never quite fitting is hard to get used to. No matter where we are, no matter what we do, we’re always foreigners and feel somewhat out of place.
Until we really come to grips with this reality, we will repeatedly feel disoriented and disappointed. This results in plenty of “grumbling and disputing” (Philippians 2:14) until we are willing to embrace that
We are “seeking a homeland”; we desire “a better country” (Hebrews 11:14–16). We are strangers and exiles on earth; “here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). C.S. Lewisput it beautifully:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (Mere Christianity, Book III, chapter 10, “Hope”)
The reason “home” always eludes you now is that you were made for another world. No worldly experience can satisfy your inconsolable longing. No relationship, no successful achievement, no possession, no amount of public approval will ever satisfy you here. The best these can do is give you a brief copy and shadowy glimpse of your true homeland. The best they can do is make you homesick for the better country where you belong, yet have never seen.
Live FreeAs a Christian, your sense of homelessness and homesickness is normal. If you’ve been fighting it, stop!
Embracing your homelessness as a disciple is to embrace freedom. If you don’t burden your worldly experiences with the expectations of making them your home, their disappointments won’t be so heavy, and you’ll be able to lay aside the weight of cynicism.
The really good news is that you are a stranger and exile. The more you realize this, the more it allows you to travel light. It’s the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches that weigh you down and choke your faith (Matthew 13:22). But remembering that you don’t have to make your home here will lighten your load and open your spiritual airways.
Don’t worry; home is up ahead. Jesus has gone ahead of you to prepare a home for you (John 14:2). And he’s made this amazing and freeing promise to you if you’re willing to live “homeless”:
Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
Don’t waste precious time and resources trying to make earth your home. Instead, travel as light in your expectations and your possessions (material or emotional) as possible. And seek to take as many people as you can with you to your true homeland.
Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He is author of three books, Not by Sight, Things Not Seen, and Don’t Follow Your Heart. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.
Christ-follower, husband, dad, friend & the Senior Pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church.