Posted by: Jo | January 25, 2013

No Longer Strangers

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 (KJV))

God's FamilyJust recently a dear friend of ours passed away. He and his family were our first neighbours when we settled into our new house after leaving Australia to come and live in Canada. His death caused me to remember those early days when we were strangers in a foreign country, not knowing any friends, our children coping with new schools, finding our way in a slightly different culture from our own. Yes, we did speak English, but our accent immediately singled us out as not quite belonging and of course our Australian expressions caused many bemused glances. We were very fortunate to move into the street where this dear friend lived as his family welcomed us into their home and as it transpired into their lives and their eldest daughter became our daughter’s closest friend. Their hospitality and the offering of friendship helped us to feel part of the society we had moved into and we began to no longer feel we were strangers. The feeling of being no longer a stranger is hard to describe. Perhaps a feeling of acceptance; a feeling of belonging; a feeling of being one on one with others; an overpowering sense of relief; comforting knowledge there are others to support you.

One of the most beautiful requests we have from our Heavenly Father is his invitation to us to become part of his household and so lose the title of “stranger” and become a family member.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19)

As far back as the book of Exodus, God took an amazing step towards us by telling the children of Israel that he was choosing to come and live among them.

“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8)

Family built on God's planSo what does this beautiful household that we have been invited to join, look like? The most reassuring part is its foundation, no other foundation could be as solid as this one.

“…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20)

We are not stepping into unknown territory. Many have gone before us and we have been assured by Jesus himself there are many rooms available;

“In my Father’s house are many rooms…” (John 14:2)

What can we expect if we accept the invitation? This is the most surprising benefit of acceptance. We may have entered as strangers, but a transformation by the Holy Spirit will bind us together with other believers. We will become one family. We will be living in “the shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1). His household will be like a “refuge and my fortress” (Psalm 91:2)

When we do become a part of God’s household, there are expectations, like any other family living together. Here on earth our representing of what God’s household looks like, is viewed by outsiders through our actions within the church and within the community. If we are representing the loving grace and mercy of our Lord others will long to join his household. Unity between believers is a powerful force against evil. Paul begs his readers to guard against division in the household.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2 – 3)

Building FriendshipsSo Heavenly Father, show us who may feel like a stranger, perhaps in our church or in our neighbourhood, so that we may welcome them into the family of God.

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Responses

  1. So true Jo! I had the same experience arriving in a new country . I have found great joy in uniting with fellow believers and know the force and strength it brings.

    Like

  2. Amen, Jo. The Ephesians 4 verses give great commandments for us to show among us and the world. And the Holy Spirit helps us do it – God gives the commandments and provides the power to meet them. Wonderful.

    Like


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