An Englishman went to visit his longtime friend, a British military officer who was stationed in an African jungle. When he finally arrived at the officer’s hut and entered it, he was startled to find his friend dressed in formal clothing and seated at a table beautifully set with polished silverware and fine china.
When the Englishman asked the officer why he was all dressed up and seated at such a table in the middle of nowhere, the officer answered: “Once a week I follow this routine to remind myself of who I am – a British citizen. I want to maintain the customs of my real home and live according to the codes of British conduct, no matter how those around me live. I want to avoid substituting a foreign culture for that of my homeland.”
The parallel to living the Christian life is obvious. Even though we Christians are currently stationed in a foreign land, we are still citizens of the kingdom of heaven. As the Bible says, we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13) but “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). These facts are not in question. What is in question is whether or not we are substituting the foreign culture of this world for that of our homeland.