Being an Alien in an Anti-Heaven Culture

I felt really silly. Here it was 88 degrees in Southern California and I was adorned with a wool skirt, long sleeved sweater, wool blazer, and boots. Over my arm, I’d slung a wool coat. If my neighbors had by chance looked out their windows to see me loading the car with my luggage, they would have wondered whether I’d lost my marbles.

But the revealing clue to my state of mind is that I was loading luggage! I was on my way to the airport for a flight to the East Coast where a blizzard was in process. I’d rather be hot here for a little bit of time and kept warm there the whole time I’m visiting.

As I walked through the airport, most people had on shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. But some of us who were headed for colder destinations lugged our warm clothing. It seemed awkward and a bother to be wearing the bulky clothes and hauling the heavy coats, but I knew warm clothing would pay off when I faced the freezing wind of New York. And indeed, once I arrived in New York, I fit right in! Everyone had on their wool clothing and I didn’t feel awkward at all. Just grateful for the warmth enveloping me.

It didn’t take me long into my trip before the connection with Philippians 3:20-21 hit me:

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

We are inhabitants of earth but citizens of heaven.

We are “aliens” surrounded by the “hot weather” of an anti-heaven culture, yet our “clothing” is heavenly. We’re supposed to be “dressed” for heaven by looking at our lives with the “warm clothing” of our future eternity. We awkwardly wear our earthly clothing and don’t fit in within the culture of immorality, distrust of God, self-dependence, and self-absorption. Our spiritual appetites are strange to those who don’t have a passport for heaven, but once we reach our destination and are transformed into our heavenly permanent bodies, our spiritual perspective will seem completely normal.

But that hasn’t happened yet, and so we are aliens here, tempted by this temporary world’s fare and frame of reference. One day we’ll arrive at our final destination where we will be welcomed by our Savior and enjoy the mansion built for His children.

On another trip, I looked out the plane’s window and was awestruck that a cloud formation looked like a doorway into heaven. Beautiful white clouds formed a circle with blue sky in the middle. Leading up into the center of the cloud formation were pastel-colored clouds looking like huge steps. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

I felt the most intense desire to run right out the airplane wing and walk toward that circle of light. Thinking of it right now makes me hunger for heaven because I know it will be even more wonderful than that, because my beloved Jesus will greet me beyond those clouds.

As you are tempted by the “alien” world you are living in now, just know that what is waiting for you will feel completely at home. Just like wearing cold weather clothing when it’s a hot 88 degree California day.