Exiles in foreign cities
In the opening verses of 1 Peter, Peter describes us (Christians) as exiles. We are exiles in foreign worlds, and these worlds are not our true home. We need to know how to live as exiles in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Boone, Charlotte, and elsewhere. Fortunately, God has sent his people into exile in the past, in an earthly and tangible way, so that we can see what it’s like to live for God in exile.
In Jeremiah 29:6-7, God tells the people of Israel in exile in Babylon,
“multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
We should seek the welfare of the city. It’s frustrating to be help back from our true home in Heaven, but we are here now and we get to bring the presence of God, which lives in us, to the streets, classrooms, and workplaces of our cities. Multiply, and do not decrease. That’s the Lord’s command. If we seek the welfare of our cities, we will find welfare for ourselves, as exiles in it for the Lord. That’s our purpose.
So get to know your city. Is it an artsy city? An outdoorsy city? An agricultural city? Be part of the culture and use that connection with the culture for the Kingdom of God.
The most faithful churches, from what I can see, are very invested in their city, and that investment helps more people see the love of Jesus.
Some of the believers here at Chapel Hill, for example, host art nights and create space for artists to express themselves, believer and non-believer. This makes a connection with the culture and seeks the welfare for the city, leading to opportunities for the salvation of God to rescue individuals of the city.
Do this in your city. Go, with friends, to App football games. Check out events in Uptown Charlotte, engage with the culture that doesn’t know Jesus, and seek the welfare of the city.
Check out this video of a church that does this really well!