“to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout” 1 Peter 1:1
Aliens – We’ve all heard it. Life’s a journey. The road less traveled. Did you know that God invented the idea? Every Christian carries a green card. You don’t get this card until you change kingdoms but when you do become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, God’s green card has only one purpose: to allow you to temporarily live and work in a place where you don’t belong. Peter calls these people “resident aliens”. The Greek is parapidemos – from para meaning “near” or “close” and epidemos meaning “stranger”. But epidemos comes from two other words: epi meaning “in” or “among” and demos meaning “people”. So, the sense of this phrase is strangers who are in and among the land. These are not people just passing through. Not visitors. These are residents but not citizens. Think of Abraham in Canaan.
You are a resident alien in this world. What does that mean? It means that your true loyalty is not found in anything here. It means that your real Lord does not have a mansion in Manhattan or a church in Chicago. It means that the real attachments and values of your life can’t be found in this place. It means that your real rights as a citizen aren’t honored here. It means that you don’t have status, power or class here. It means that what you do have is just on loan; it doesn’t belong to you. Finally, it means that you are here only by God’s grace. When you have completed the job He has for you, you get to go home where you can turn in your green card and enjoy being a permanent citizen.
Does this thought change your perspective on what’s important to you now? It should. All those victories and all those defeats, all that struggle and all that joy, it’s all just part of the temporary entitlement. Remember Abraham. He was promised greatness through his successors but he died without owning anything but his own grave. He knew what it was like to be a resident alien. God says the same thing to us. “Come, follow me to a place that I will show you.” Don’t get too attached. God is on the move. Following is the Standard Operating Procedure of a resident alien. You got to go where the Boss Man goes.