No Longer Foreigners

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:19:

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

After 10 years living in the US, I felt so foreign in my own country. It felt so strange that the place where I grew up, where my home was, doesn’t feel like home anymore. For some reason, there is no “like” or “love” feeling there. But, there is care, compassion and benevolence. That I want to do something, even outside of my power and just do something.

Now, let me explain to you, that in my culture, it’s called like this:

“Walang utang na loob” = Eng. “Thankless

As what our famous national hero quoted:
“And hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.”

Eng. “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.

I wasn’t thankless, in fact I’m filled with gratitude because where I came from helps me see the needs of this world. In fact, I gave up the so-called “American Dream”. I realized that wasn’t the dream God has for me. But the underlying reason goes back further than the dreams I had, and hope, and future.

When I came back to the street I came from, I’m thankful for the people there, the relationships I’ve made, our relatives, our close-knit neighborhoods and my family. I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood where every person who pass by waves at you, where you see people riding a bicycle in the sunshine, where you see families sitting on the plush green meadows having ice cream or lunch picnics.

It wasn’t there.

I grew up in a neighborhood where morning is busy with tricycles catching their next passenger, where “lolo”, “manong” or “kuya” (man that is older than you) is hanging out by the street smoking cigarettes, where there are 5-6 sari-sari stores within 300 meters, where teenagers hang out at night in front of their houses or friend’s houses just for the heck of it, where you hear everything outside your house within 360 degrees range and where “brownout”  is a norm to avoid “blackout”.

I didn’t “hate” where I came from, its part of me and will always be.

In light of Rizal’s quote, where is my destination? Am I destined to be the best mom I could? Am I destined to become a successful business owner? Am I destined to build empire, wealth and unlimited resources and hope that my legacy on this earth stays for the future generation? What is my pursuit?

Before I look back where I came from, I need to recognize first where is my destination.

In Ephesians 2:19, we basically got this dual or multiple citizenship while we are still living here on earth. We are citizens of this world, the country where we came from, the system of the government of that country. No matter how that country was founded, it is still of this world. And we live in that culture. However, if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become citizens of heaven. We are no longer foreigners or aliens of that world. A sinless world where God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit reigns.

As believers of the Gospel, when we were born again by putting our faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3; John 3:16), we become born into the Kingdom of Heaven. I hear this preached all the time in churches, but after we hear it, we forget about it the following day. We go back to our citizenship of this world, daily minding our own pursuits that is of this world, keeping our minds busy with our future.

When I came back to where I grew up. That strange feeling reminds me that I am no longer part of that world, but still a citizen of this world. That I do not love it, but I care about it, about the people there, my parents most especially. It reminds me of the times I wasn’t walking with the Lord, the times I deliberately disobeyed Him, the times I broke my parent’s heart, the times I hate the people around me, those times I was just broken and needed a Savior.

I felt tears in my eyes that I tried to keep as hidden as I could from my parents and Tim. As I look around the house where I grew up, it’s deteriorating with termites around the ceiling and it is always dark. My parents have to turn on the fluorescent light during the day. You can’t even plant a flower in a pot because no sunshine will reach it. All concrete around and wooden on second floor, it is still standing with hope.

I may not go back and live there again, but I will always turn around to do what I can to help and remember that’s where I came from. That’s not going to change. And those moments we go back & remember those times we used to be, where we came from will remind us that as citizens of heaven that is still living in this world, we are called to put hope in this broken world.

I like this explanation from

When God grants us citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, we become “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He sends His Holy Spirit to indwell our spirits, and our bodies become His temple (1 Corinthians 3:166:19–20). The Holy Spirit begins to transform our sinful, worldly desires into those that glorify God (Romans 12:1–2). His goal is to make us as much like Jesus as possible in this life (Romans 8:29). We are given the power and privilege of exiting the world’s flawed value system and living for eternity (1 John 2:15–17). To be adopted into the family of God means that we become citizens of an eternal kingdom where our Father is the King. Our focus turns toward eternal things and storing up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19–20). We consider ourselves ambassadors to this earth until our Father sends for us and we go home (Ephesians 2:18–196:20).

We live for a short time in these physical bodies, anticipating the bright future in our real home. While here, we share Abraham’s experience, living “like a stranger in a foreign country. . . looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9–10).

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Prayer today: Lord, let me live for the rest of my life here on earth as a citizen of heaven. Holy Spirit, help me to live and act focus towards eternal things, investing and storing treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy. Amen.

2 thoughts on “No Longer Foreigners”

  1. Chie – thanks for this! So encouraging to be reminded that we are here for a purpose, and yet, we cN look forward to the perfection and “rightness” of heaven!

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