Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. – 1 Peter 2:11
‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is a common phrase used to guide or give direction when one is in an unfamiliar situation. People are usually asked to follow the lead of those who know the ropes. When visiting an unfamiliar place, we are usually told to follow the customs of those who live there and embrace them. As a believer in Christ you have to be mindful of this statement. By receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life, you become Christ’s ambassador here on earth thus your citizenship changes from being a citizen of this world to being a citizen of heaven. You become a new creation and are a child of God. Your family had changed! You should also note that in this scenario there is no such thing as dual citizenship since you cannot be a friend of God and a friend of the world at the same time. In this case, if you are a believer, it means that you are a foreigner on earth and one day you will be united with the Savior and spend eternity in heaven where you’re a citizen.
As a foreigner it is usually hard to adjust to a new culture. Most things if not everything is different to what you have been accustomed to. Food, friends, language, climate and a host of other things change at once hence a culture shock which leads someone to being homesick. Sometimes the foreigners are harassed by the authorities being demanded to prove that they are in the country legally and asked to explain what business they have. However, this gradually changes as one begins to plug in and adopts the new culture. Some foreigners settle comfortably, transform completely and they do not even return to their homeland. This is usually the same for a believer and that is why the Bible tells us to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against our souls. This is a sinful world and if not careful, it is very easy for a believer to adopt the sinful nature. Sin is celebrated and is fancied a lot more than obeying God’s will. If you are a faithful believer, most of the times you find yourself isolated and labelled as boring. The world will harass you to bow down to its pressures and to indulge in its activities which are contrary to the word of God. The world is calling out people to engage in its fruitless deeds but we must realize that as ambassadors of Christ, God is making his appeal through us to implore people on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God and become apart of his family. Become a citizen of his kingdom!
In Nairobi we see a number of foreigners who come as tourists, students or businesspeople. Some of them change their citizenship and become Kenyan citizens, but majority of them return to their home countries. I urge you as a believer not to settle and get comfortable in this world, but be like those that we see in Nairobi. They don’t fully settle in Nairobi. They consider home somewhere else. When in Rome, you do not necessarily have to do as the Romans do. Always keep in mind your purpose and find out God’s pleasing and perfect will. Do not forget what you have been called to do and do it with all your heart as you await the Lord Jesus. You are here only for a short period of time before Christ calls you back home.