Ephesians 4:22-24 “. . . that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
The word “home” conjured up comfortable feelings of warmth and belonging for many this weekend. Our small town enjoyed an influx of activity as previous students traveled back to enjoy the homecoming festivities at our local high school. On Saturday Abigail’s volleyball team played in the second round of the sectional tournament and then dashed home to change clothing, fix hair, and pick up corsages and boutonnieres for the yearly homecoming dance. These memories will stay with them always and hopefully draw them home again after graduating and moving on to other pursuits.
This summer I experienced a different type of homecoming. While traveling in New Jersey our family visited a number of sites from my childhood. The house in which I lived looked much the same as I remembered, and to my surprise our neighbor, Mrs. Robertson, though much older and thinner, still owned the house next door. The ceramic cats playfully climbing the front of the house and the three-foot tall plastic doll peeking through the side glass (the very same one that wore my outgrown toddler dress that Grandma shared) were clues to Mrs. Robertson’s continuing occupancy.
I enjoyed meandering through fond memories of days gone by, but I can’t really say that I went home that day. Twenty-four years ago I left that place and established a new home. Dad and I moved here to Ohio and this is where I have settled down. My life is intertwined with new memories, new people, new customs, and new experiences. This is where we have raised all of you children. This is who I am and this is now where I call “home.”
Before knowing Jesus each person is at home in a world that is separate from God. The things that come naturally for sinners shape our attitudes and actions, as well as our beliefs and motivations. But when we come to know Jesus as our personal Savior things change. We lay aside the activities and beliefs that typified home in the past, and we develop new attachments and paths. We become renewed in the spirit of our minds and the old haunts of selfish lusts seem out of place and uncomfortable. Instead we are drawn toward the righteousness and holiness of truth that comes from God. These are things we desire and long to imitate. This mindset and the relationship we have with our Savior and other believers is the place we now identify as our real home. It is where we truly belong.
We will always have special memories we carry with us on this earth. There are places we might revisit and people that will be forever emblazoned on our hearts. But those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior have found a new place to call home. Someday we will gather together in heaven to spend eternity where we really belong. When we arrive there will be much fanfare and excitement with a feeling of comfort and peace. And beyond a shadow of a doubt that day will be the best homecoming of all.