So in this season of Thanksgiving, do we really understand who a pilgrim is? My dictionary really doesn’t do the definition justice … but this passage from Hebrews explains it quite clearly …
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. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 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. Hebrews 11:13-16 (KJV)
Newer Bible translations tend to use the world aliens instead of pilgrims … consider:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 1 Peter 2:9-11 (NASB)
WordWeb provides the following definitions of aliens:
- A person who comes from a foreign country; someone who does not owe allegiance to your country
- Anyone who does not belong in the environment in which they are found
- A form of life assumed to exist outside the Earth or its atmosphere
Do I offer my allegiance to my country, my God, or both? Do I embrace my cultural environment as a place I belong? Is the form of life in which I exist one that is bound to this world? How would you answer these questions?
Or do I have more in common with a settler than a pilgrim?
Consider these definitions of the verb settle …
- Take up residence and become established
- Become resolved, fixed, established or quiet
- Become settled or established and stable in one’s residence or life style
- Come to rest
- Arrange of fix in the desired order
- Accept despite a lack of satisfaction
- Sink down
- Make final, put the last touches on, put into final form
Too frequently this sounds like my life defined … how ’bout you?
So during this Thanksgiving season in this world on planet earth, do you see yourself as a pilgrim/alien in route to an eternal heavenly country and city? Or have you become a settler ensnared by the temporal trappings of this world?
I don’t really like how the man in the mirror is currently answering that question for me …
Lord, help me and my family to journey through this world untangled by its trappings, joyfully traveling as pilgrims and aliens in route to our heavenly home IN Jesus!
On second hand, maybe this prayer offered by Jesus says it better …
“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word (that would be you and me); that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:13-21 (NASB)
May Your will be done Father!