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Of course, if a man were at home and the rain poured into his house, he would regard it as an intolerable hardship; but when he is travelling, he is not so troubled about rain and storms. When you are at sea, though you have not as many things as you have at home, you are not troubled at it; you are contented. Why? Because you are at sea.

Storms at Sea I Painting - Storms at Sea I Fine Art Print

In a recent post I mentioned two paradigms that Jeremiah Burroughs has been helping me with from The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment: The hope of eternity and the truth that this world is not my home. In that post, I focused more on the hope of eternity. In this post, I want to dig into what has actually been more of the paradigm shift for me, the truth that this world is not my home.

You are on a Journey at Sea

You are not troubled when storms arise, and though many things are otherwise than you would have them at home you are still quieted with the fact that you are at sea. When sailors are at sea they do not care what clothes they have, though they are pitched and tarred, and but a clout about their necks, and any old clothes. They think of when they come home: then they shall have their fine silk stockings and suits, and laced bands, and such things, and shall be very fine. So they are contented while away, with the thought that it shall be different when they come home, and though they have nothing but salt meat, and a little hard fare, yet when they come to their houses then they shall have anything. Thus it should be with us in this world, for the truth is, we are all in this world but as seafaring men, tossed up and down on the waves of the sea of this world, and our haven is Heaven; here we are travelling, and our home is a distant home in another world.

If you are at sea, you are not expecting a nice steak dinner or to sleep in a comfy sleep number bed, you anticipate the hardship and differences. Of course, most of us are not travelling via Paul Allen’s Octopus or a Disney Cruise. This is no 3 day trip to Bermuda but a long voyage.

You are at an Inn

Consider what your condition is, you are pilgrims and strangers; so do not think to satisfy yourselves here. When a man comes into an inn and sees there a fair cupboard of plate, he is not troubled that it is not his own.- Why? Because he is going away. So let us not be troubled when we see that other men have great wealth, but we have not.-Why? We are going away to another country; you are, as it were, only lodging here, for a night. If you were to live a hundred years, in comparison to eternity it is not as much as a night, it is as though you were travelling, and had come to an inn. And what madness is it for a man to be discontented because he has not got what he sees there, seeing he may be going away again within less than a quarter of an hour?

You don’t have all your things when at a hotel. You might unpack but all you have is from a suitcase. You eat more on the go maybe at an unfamiliar restaurant. You don’t have your own pillows or your own bed. It’s only a temporary residence.

The Indicative: This World is Not My Home

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11 ESV)

I think I understood before that, like a journey at sea or a stay at a hotel, this world is not my home. But my problem is that I think I took verses like 1 Peter 2:11 as commands and missed the indicative. Peter does not tell us to “act like sojourners and exiles.” He calls us sojourners and exiles. He gives us an indicative that we are sojourners and exiles. This is the truth not something to obey. I am never told to act like this world is not my home – I am told that this is a truth that I need to accept and believe. That steak I might be looking forward to is merely salted meat aboard the ship or bland hotel food.

We’re not told to take the sea voyage but we’re on the sea right now. We are away from home right now. We don’t have a choice. We can try to naturalize and throw away our citizenship and simply forget about home or maybe work for the enemy but those options will only lead to more heartache, pain, dissatisfaction, and disorientation. We’re merely passing through here. We have to accept we’re sojourners, remember our short term mission & ambassadorship, and take joy in the fact that we will indeed be home someday and it will be infinitely better than this world.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16 ESV)

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