A Home Redefined, Secure, and Eternal

"I want to seek first His kingdom. I want to seek the city that is to come! I want to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. Don’t you?"    

One of the most controversial topics I could write about in my own life right now would have to be the idea of “home.”

While this word can mean many things, I want to focus on just two definitions. I’m talking specifically about home as the roof over my head, and generally about home as a place – either the one in which I currently live, or one(s) I have lived in formerly.

I spend a lot of time – too much time – wrestling with how I feel about my home, and I suspect fellow believers (maybe those in similar life stages, or who are studying at a college away from home, or are serving in missions or considering it) may share in my struggle. While all of us bring our own personal histories, ideals and earthly longings to the table, the only helpful way we can and should regularly approach this topic is from a Biblical, eternal perspective.

My husband and I are renters. (For some reason, when you’re still in your thirties, renting starts to feel like a dirty little secret...even in Los Angeles, where it can be incredibly practical!) Even though we've lived under our current roof for four years now and certainly treat it as if it belongs to us, it does not. And even though we want to own a home, what if we did (somehow, miraculously) finally find ourselves able to buy one? Would it really be ours?

Yet here I am, coveting this little house on loan to us now. I treasure its smells, its familiar creaks and groans, the scuffs on the walls from each of my kids. I have made an idol out of knowing where everything goes.

It’s mine! It’s not mine. And so the very idea of home ownership convicts me in this “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” sort of way. Because my ability to cling to the borrowed walls around me is no different than how I would cling to a mortgage. In the end, they’re both just paper. Paper that will burn into nothing but smoke and ash. And my staggering dependence on them – on the perceived security, the empty comfort they offer – is a huge reflection of my brokenness.

In short: dwelling on thoughts of my earthly dwelling in this way gets me no closer to God.

There is a different paper I should be dwelling on, one that won’t ever burn. God’s Word reminds us of his manifold promises, including that He owns our homes, He is the bank, and He possesses the eternal deeds to our lives. Could we ask for a better landlord than that? He knows what He’s doing. He is security. He is comfort.

He wants us to view our homes – whether bought or borrowed or pleasing to us at this moment or not – as a gift. We show him favor when we hold them loosely, keep them open to share with others, and continually thank Him, thank Him, thank Him.

And we must also remember what we are not entitled to, anyway: to rent, to own, to possess any shelter in this fallen world. Jesus told those who would follow Him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

Another aspect of the idea of home that I struggle with concerns the city in which I live. My husband and I are from two different cities that are over 2,000 miles away from where we now raise our family. We are, consequently, constantly a little homesick. Constantly feeling like maybe we belong somewhere else.

He also works in an industry that sometimes picks us up and moves us a few hundred miles away. So no matter how many years we've stayed in a city, it sort of feels like we've always got one foot out the door. It is all too easy to use this as an excuse to not wholeheartedly serve and love the city we’re in. Or to waste away the days worrying if we’ll ever put down roots, and where? And if it should be here, what do we do when the roots are pulled up?

But Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” [or, ‘Where shall we live?’] “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

We also read in Hebrews 13:13-14, “Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”

And, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

I want to seek first His kingdom. I want to seek the city that is to come! I want to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. Don’t you?

So when we are facing career changes or missions decisions or moves, we should just pray out of a willingness to serve Him – wherever, whenever. I know firsthand that this is easier said than done, but let’s just be real here. Let’s constantly examine our motives. Let’s not be fearful or lazy or resistant to change, or so distracted by trying to preserve our current level of comfort that we miss something God is trying to say.

Because when we start thinking of eternity first and only, asking simply, “What would you have me do for your kingdom next?” the where becomes a postscript. We just go or stay or do. God provides the map and the means.

I was struck recently by a quote from John Piper, where he says, “I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth ‘home.’ Before you know it, I am calling luxuries ‘needs’ and using my money just the way unbelievers do…I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mindset that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness.”

The remedy to that sickness is always, always above. Paul says, in Philippians 3:18-20, that this focus on earthly things is akin to being an enemy of the cross. Then he reminds us, “But our citizenship is in heaven…”

Finally, Jesus himself says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

So is home really where we want our hearts to be? Let’s reorient them toward a home, redefined – a home, secure – a home, eternal.