Devotion for the Week...
I am an avid reader, and I enjoy books from different genres. One of my favourite genres is historical fiction, and over the years I have read a few books that featured a governess as the heroine. I had never thought about it before, but the governess was often in a rather lonely position within the household.
She was a servant, but was often better educated than the housemaids and other servants. She was also held to a rigid moral standard, more so even than the other servants, since her actions were seen as directly affecting the family, especially the children. Because of these factors, the servants didn't really accept her as one of their own.
She spent most of her time with the family, but she was never allowed to forget that she was a servant, not a member of the family. This left the governess in between the family and the servants...not really either one, not really accepted by either group as an equal.
Christians are in a similar situation. After we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we continue to live in this world, but we are not really of this world any longer. Jesus said about his disciples, (and by extension, us), "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it" (John 17:16).
How are we not of the world? Because we have accepted Jesus, we are no longer ruled by Satan, whom Jesus called "the prince of this world," (John 14:30 and 16:11). "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20) and we are told "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:15,16).
Of course, we still live in the world, so it's hard to balance that being in the world but not of the world, isn't it? We earn a living, raise our families, spend time with friends, take vacations, pursue hobbies and all the other things that are involved in living our lives. As it is so often, that balance is a matter of our priorities and our focus. As an example, we have to earn a living so we can buy food, clothing and other necessities, but if we pursue wealth for its own sake then we are acting as those who are of the world rather than as citizens of heaven.
The world is full of tempting sights, experiences and demands that threaten to pull our focus from God and onto how we can make ourselves comfortable in the here and now, or how we can get more of what the world insists we need to have, or how we can manage to do everything people expect of us. It's easy to get our priorities messed up if we listen only to the world. After all, the things of the world serve the prince of this world, who wants nothing more than to drag us away from living the way God wants us to live.
We need to be constantly aware of our situation. Constantly remembering that we belong to God and that we are to live according to His will, not that of the world.
The governess was in between because she wasn't accepted as one of the servants or as one of the family. The Christian's situation isn't exactly the same because, while we aren't really part of the world, we are fully accepted as citizens of heaven, through faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, we aren't in heaven and so we have to continue to balance in between, living as "foreigners and strangers on earth" (Hebrews 11:13), while waiting to one day be where we belong.
Do you feel that tug of being in between, of not fully belonging here in the world? How do you balance your citizenship in heaven with your life here in the world?