"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. ... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16)
Throughout the word of God, we find repeated reminders of the fact that this world is not our home. Most all of us have a place on this earth that we refer to as "home." Perhaps we think about the house that we live in, the town where we grew up, or even the country we are citizens of in this way. Obviously, this, in and of itself, is not wrong, but often we can fall into the trap of treating this life as though it were capable of giving us all we hope for from heaven.
The world and he whose sway it lies under (cf. 1 John 5:19) wants us to buy into the deception that...
- This promotion will finally make me feel fulfilled.
- A new car will satisfy that itch I haven't been able to scratch.
- More stuff will keep my smile from slowly fading back to a frown.
- A nicer house will give me that sense of foundation and security I've been longing for.
You see, Satan wants you to be tricked into thinking that you can have "heaven" on earth. And, friends, that is a flat out lie.
Paul stated that, "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21). Our home is above, where Christ is! There are indeed mansions awaiting the faithful in heaven (cf. John 14:2-3), but we can't bring those mansions down here. Imagine how much greater perspective we would have if only we would remember this simple truth!
Camping, as stated in the title of this article, is intense (pun intended)! Think about it...
Camping is dirty - James described pure and undefiled religion as, in part, keeping "oneself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27) We are surrounded by things that, if touched (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:17) will stain our souls. Peter begs us, in 1 Peter 2:11 to abstain from these "fleshly lusts which war against the soul."
Camping is uncomfortable - When we are camping we are often too hot or too cold, wet from the rain or snow, or trying to sleep on the hard, rocky ground. We are exposed to the elements and it can be truly miserable. As Christians, we must learn to expect trials (cf. 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:12), but also know that God is a "refuge from the storm" and "a shade from the heat." (Isaiah 25:4) The psalmist tells us that, if we cast our burdens on the Lord, He will sustain us. He explains that God "shall never permit the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)
Camping is dangerous - Serpents (2 Corinthians 11:3), Lions (1 Peter 5:8), and Birds (Matthew 13:4, 19)...oh my! When you're camping, you're surrounded by things that want to eat you! And sometimes just a nibble is enough to do us in! Satan, in his desire to devour our souls, often accomplishes his task with small bites. I find it worth noting that, in Mark 3:22, Satan is referred to as Beelzebub which translates "the Lord of the flies."
Despite the many difficulties of being pilgrims, heaven will surely be worth it all in the end!
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
Paul assures us that, "in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:35-36)
In conclusion, let us stay focused on the goal and not get too comfortable in our earthly "tents." (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10) I pray we will all have a heart set on pilgrimage (Psalm 84:5) and continue pressing on so we can all be truly at home one day soon!
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)