As you know, I travel quite a bit and I am always going in and out of airports. And I’m sure that you realize that this means I go through a lot of TSA security checkpoints. Throughout the years, security has become something of a major deal at airports and other venues throughout our country, and the world. Even entering football and basketball games, many times there are security checkpoints to go through. I remember we even had to go through metal detectors when we went to the Super Bowl Village earlier this year when Indianapolis hosted the big game.
Several years ago, I applied for a membership in CLEAR, a company that assisted people to get through security checkpoints at airports. After a thorough screening, fingerprinting and a background check, I was issued a card that identified me as a frequent flyer. As I approached the checkpoint, I could flash my card, be escorted to a separate line where my card was inserted into a reader that checked my fingerprints and presto, I was ushered to the front of the line where I was rushed through security. In fact, CLEAR was such a good program that I got Janet enrolled as well, so when we travelled together, it was much easier to get to the gate. Even Andrew, who travelled with me from time to time also had a CLEAR card to make things easier.
After all, it wasn’t like the old days when you could go into an airport and just wait at the gate for an arriving plane to come in. Those days are long gone. Anyway, CLEAR was growing and we were given the chance to commit to several years at a discounted rate. I jumped in and to get to the end of the story, CLEAR went out of business and I lost several thousand dollars in the process.
Recently, while I was travelling through the Dallas airport, DFW, I noticed a sign for a TSA program that would allow benefits similar to CLEAR. After pre-screening and approval, you can leave your shoes on, keep your computer and liquids in their cases, keep your belt and your light jacket on, and in short, gain access to a special line that allows you to get through security a little faster. It’s a great program, and there are several different programs of this type that you can apply for, all the way up to what is called Global Entry. This program not only covers the domestic airports, it also allows quicker entry into the country when returning with your passport. The TSA accepts Global Entry members in their pre-screening program.
So, once again, I have tried to join a frequent traveller program. I filled out the online application for Janet and myself, we have been conditionally approved, and I have now scheduled interviews for us in Chicago several months from now, the first available time we can go. Through all the steps in the process, I have become intimately familiar with the word “alien.” I am just not used to being called that. But I guess that when we are overseas and are travelling in a foreign land, we are, in fact, aliens. Because we are not on our home turf.
With the current situation of illegal immigration into the US, particularly in Arizona, there has been an awful lot of press about “aliens.” And I admit that I am a little sensitive about the term being used to describe me; even if it is true when I travel abroad. But, you know what? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, during your time here on earth, you are also considered an alien.
The Scripture clearly tells us that the realm of Satan is on the earth. And that means, for those of us who belong to God, that while we may be on the earth, we are not of the earth. Sounds like an alien to me – how about you? Satan has been allowed by God to temporarily have dominion over the earth, until the return of Christ in the final days and that means that we are aliens in a land that is not our own – we don’t belong here. We are just here for a time and then we will go to the place that is our real home – heaven.
The apostle Peter lets us know in no uncertain terms that we must be careful to not succumb to the sinful desires of the world – after all, we are in enemy territory. He tells us, in 1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” In other words, keep looking to God for the answers, because you won’t find them here in an alien land.
And the apostle John, in his first epistle tells us, in 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” What have we overcome? Sinful spirits…
My encouragement tonight is to let you know that God has you covered. He expects you to take your lead from Him and to keep looking up. My prayer is that you will remember that some day you will be going home – no longer an alien or a stranger in a strange land – but home, that place where the heart, and our Lord, is. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…