Flourishing as a Foreigner

It’s hard to live a life that glorifies God when we’re surrounded by godlessness. The Biblical foundation that once defined American life has been pushed aside. God has been kicked out of the government, out of the schools, and even out of the homes of many people in this nation. Each election cycle policies are put forward that bring us further and further away from where we once were. “One nation under God” seems like a distant memory.

What are we supposed to do? How do we live as Christians in an increasingly godless society?

“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:6-7 NLT

God’s people, the Israelites, found themselves in a similar situation. They had been taken captive and were living in exile in a godless nation. None of it was familiar to them. They were surrounded by Pagan influences and ruled by ungodly leaders, but God did not want them to give in or give up. They were not living in the Promised Land, but they were still God’s chosen people and He expected them to live that way.

The same principle is true for us today. We live in our own version of Babylon, temporarily exiled from our heavenly home. Ungodly influences surround us. The Word of God and the people who seek to follow it are being marginalized.  What does God want us to do while we wait for Him to bring us home? How can we flourish as foreigners in this world?

He wants us to settle in and make a difference. We need to work and live and impact our sphere of influence. God has placed us in this time and in this place for a reason. We cannot become complacent. God is working in us to accomplish His good purpose.

For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13 CSB

He wants us to multiply and not dwindle away. Part of this involves marrying and raising godly children. Marriage and family are God’s idea and the way He chooses to populate the earth with people He can use. But multiplication also involves sharing the gospel and bringing more people into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. One of Jesus’ final commands to His followers before He left this earth was to go and spread the gospel. (Matthew 28:19-20)

He wants us to work and to pray for the peace, prosperity, and welfare of our nation. When there is discord, poverty, and misery, there are hurting people. And it is lost and hurting people that God wants to reach. As Christ followers, we should be a shining light in the pervasive darkness as we love people and pray for our nation.

We need to take a deep breath, role up our sleeves, and get busy. We need to settle in, spread the gospel, care for people, and pray. It’s no accident that we are living in this country at this time. God determined our appointed time and the boundaries of where we live. (Acts 17:26) If there’s any hope for our country, it starts with God’s people.

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. – Hebrews 13:14 NLT

One thought on “Flourishing as a Foreigner

  1. What an encouraging post, Erika! I had just watched an online conference of “Porch Pals”, in which Anita Renfroe read this passage. She gave a little extra attention to the end: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” NIV. And it struck me that even in situations I don’t want to be in, some good may be found for myself, also!

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