As a Christian, I have more in common with brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries than I do with non-believing citizens of the U.S. If you’ve never traveled internationally and spent time with believers in other countries, this may be difficult to grasp. If you have been blessed to experience this, then you know how incredibly quick a bond is formed in spite of language or cultural barriers. Why is that?
Well, the Bible tells us Christians are foreigners, exiles, refugees, and strangers in this world (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11). It tells us our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). It tells us even now Christians have come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where we’ve already joined with thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly to worship the Lord (Heb. 12:18-24). Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). That’s a lot of important common ground! You will bond quickly with those with whom you have a common core identity.
This world is not our primary home or identity. We swear absolute allegiance to no one and no thing other than the King of the universe. So, Christian, never be ashamed of being first and foremost a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ.
“I believe in God.”
These are four simple words that seemingly say much. When we hear someone make a statement like this, we might even conclude that person is a Christian. But if there’s one thing the Bible teaches about human beings it’s this: our true nature is often more complicated than the words we speak (SEE Proverbs 20:5!).
So here’s the deal, you can say you believe in God but still trust something else for your significance and meaning in life. And whatever that thing is you look to for your significance and meaning in life is functioning as your real god.
How do you know what that thing is? I would suggest that 99% of the time we don’t know what or who our true god is. It’s only when our god is threatened or taken from us we’re able to identify it.
There’s an easy way to do this. There are usually excessive emotions that are attached to the things we make the functional trust of our hearts. If you find yourself inordinately shaken by anger, anxiety, or despondency, excessive emotions are pointers that lead you to the true functional trust of your heart. In other words, our nerves get touched when our false gods are threatened or taken away.
Our good and loving God uses situations like these redemptively. When we find our nerves have been touched because a false god has been lost, that’s God’s way of saying, “Hey, my child, remember Me? I’m your refuge, your comfort, your security, your significance, your true meaning. Come to Me and I will give you rest."
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. So how did we get one in English? Answer: translation committees. The below video illustrates the labor of love involved in translating the Bible from the original languages. Keep in mind, this video is only a snapshot of the discussion surrounding just one word!