I’ve been fortunate to be able to not only travel to other countries but to have spent time studying abroad. When I moved to France many years ago to study, the last thing I wanted to be identified as was an American tourist. I had learned French before my studies in Paris began. Fortunately, I didn’t have an American accent when I spoke French. Because of my heritage, I was typically mistaken for Eastern European, which was fine since I wanted nothing to do with the “ugly” Americans I regularly encountered. 

Whenever I traveled to another country, I would do my best to learn as much about the culture and the language as I could. I never saw myself as a tourist, and being identified as one was, again, something I shunned. I was a traveler in mind, body, and spirit. A resident of this beautiful planet without any specific ties to one place.

In the Bible, Peter’s first letter starts by identifying the people he is writing to.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (emphasis added).

1 Peter 1:1 (NIV)

The term “God’s elect” refers to God’s chosen people. Those who are called Christian today. The other term Peter uses is “exile.” Peter doesn’t say, “tourist.” Instead, he says “exile.” What’s the difference between a tourist and an exile? A tourist travels for pleasure while an exile travels or habitates somewhere because they cannot go home. The exile has either been forced out of their home or has left for another reason. As Christians, we are exiles from Heaven. 

All of us were born into this world as sinners. As sinners, we were all bound for eternal damnation until we were saved by the blood of Jesus. When we professed our faith in Christ and became saved, we exiled ourselves from this world we were born into. Jesus gave his life as a ransom so that all who believed in him would have eternal life and not suffer damnation. 

As I’ve said, when I used to travel, I made every effort to blend in as a native to the place I was visiting. Now, as exiles, we are to do as Paul says in Romans.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (emphasis added).

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

And in Philippians, we are reminded of where our true citizenship lies.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

As citizens of Heaven, our loyalty is to our Father in Heaven, and we should identify first and foremost as Christians. Political parties, social groups, and even nationalities, while important elements of this world, should never come before our loyalty to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.