Natives of Heaven
I never want to be "just like" everybody else. There’s a little piece deep down inside of me that tends to enjoy going against the grain at times (sometimes for the good…sometimes for the bad, I’ll shamefully confess!). You would think, as a believer living in this fallen world, that this “not wanting to be like everybody else” desire in me would help when it comes to being “salt and light” in a dark world that thinks and acts so very differently than me most of the time.
And yet, there are days when I will still get in modes of ‘uncomfortableness’ if I'm looking just a little too different compared to the people around me; feeling a little too left out in this world.
I like 2 Peter 1:3-4.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us, to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
There are several beautiful, gracious and powerful truths to gather from this passage. But today, I have just one teensy, tiny thing to point out. Look at the Greek word and definition of "nature":
Nature (vs. 4): phusis
The sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics. A mode of feeling and acting by which by long habit has become nature.
Knowing this definition in the context of the passage, it tells us that God is making us look like a native of heaven. A native! Well of all things! Not only are we aliens and strangers in this world, and not only has our citizenship transferred to heaven...we’re natives of heaven. Do you see the difference here? Italians don’t move to America and become natives; they’ve simply relocated their home. Citizens, yes. Natives? No.
But us? We’ve been chosen by heaven’s Maker to be born as a native of his very own homeland. And as our Father has chosen us to be, his divine power is working in us to become. He is changing us and making us ‘distinctively different’ from the native ways of this world that we’ve always known. The sin and corruption in this world has been our natural tendency and the place we’ve felt most comfortable. But now, God is growing us in the knowledge of himself, and we are changing. Our natural tendencies and inclinations, our natural habits and thoughts, the places we feel most comfortable, are maturing and becoming more like Christ through God’s divine power; more like a real, live native.
This means we won't fit in here. No, we just will not. fit. in. And if we do start fitting in, a little too much...perhaps we've neglected to find the astounding promises of God for each of our days that keep us from falling and cause our knowledge of Christ to be fruitful. Perhaps, if we start feeling a little too comfortable around here, we've forgotten the abundance of his mercy that has – powerfully – miraculously – divinely – given us all things we need to experience more of his very own divine nature, in our very own selves, in our very own lives.
Yup, he is making us distinctively different. He is making us divine, just like him. Piece by piece, thought by thought, habit by habit, he is transforming us into the likeness of his beautiful, glorious, joy-focused and joy-filled Son.
Aliens here – but natives of Heaven.
Go on, ladies. Dare to be different in this world. Because you know what? There is a place you call home, and you fit in just right there.