Thoughts on True Citizenship
With election season in full swing, now is as good a time as ever to discuss our citizenship as fellow heirs together of the kingdom of God in heaven. Heaven is our true home, we are placed here on temporary assignment to bring a witness of Christ and of his kingdom order to earth as it is in heaven.
Paul exhorted the Philippians, "
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,"
What are the implications for being a heavenly citizen? Here are a few brief thoughts but by no means an exhaustive look at this text:
1) Earth is temporary. No matter where you are at in life and what lot you've been given, it's temporary. It may seem like you've been dealing with the same things for so long, but if you will be faithful to Christ in the midst of the trials and circumstances and situations you find yourself in, Christ said you would not lose your reward.
Jesus promised his followers in the book of Revelation eternal rewards for whatever they endured on this earth, exhorting and admonishing his disciples to be faithful event to the point of death, and they would receive the crown of life, for example.
2) We aren't tied down to the things of this world. The Bible tells us that we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing with us. Paul said he was content with food and clothing. While God's blessing can make one wealthy, our hope is never in material things of this world. When we have Christ within our hearts, we can lose everything peripherally and yet gain everything because we have Christ. While some Christians are of the mindset the more people like you and wealthier you are the better Christian you must be, Paul clearly did not use these external, uncontrollable factors as an indicator of his success. 2 Corinthians 11 records Paul describing the troubles he endured that exposed his own weakness and human frailty but ultimately brought glory to God,
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin,and I do not inwardly burn?
3) We're engaged and prayerful. Paul exhorts believers to be engaged and submitted to the governments of this world but above all to be prayerful regarding our earthly assignment in anticipation of our heavenly home. God's will is that we would be able to live out our faith here on earth in peace, but that of course by all means is no guarantee. This doesn't cause us to reject earthly citizenship but to be fervent in prayer for leaders that God's will is done on earth as in heaven. That is why we are commanded to pray those very words for God's will to be done. Because God has granted the earth to the sons of men and given original authority to men, we must come into agreement with what is on God's heart for the earth and release and speak it over our country and government. It's not a direct Bible quote but is taken from the understanding of man's authority on earth, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer."
I am happy to see believers engaged in debate and conversation around the upcoming elections as long as it is backed up by prayer and seeking the face of God. Let us not be like the Israelites were in the days of Judges, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
Rather let us seek God, laying aside every prejudice and preconceived idea of how the media portrays and spins information to steer the American public into seeing the candidates in a way they want and see things in Christ's light. It is in his light that we see light. Not the light of media conglomerates.
Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow."
Whose voice are you listening to and have you sought God for his heart and will in elections to be done.
4) God's heart is for all nations. God is no respecter of person, recognizer of faces, shows no favoritism and accepts no bribes. He will make every wrong right and dry up every tear from our eyes. There is coming a day of judgement for all wrong done on the earth. All nations and every individual will give account to God for their actions in the flesh, whether good or evil. God's heart is that every person in every country would hear and see the glory of God in the face of Jesus. His heart according to Psalm 2 is to give to Jesus the nations as his inheritance and as the reward of his suffering. We must pray for all nations to come to Christ and for laborers to be thrust into the harvest for Christ. Close to 3 billion people on Earth have not heard the Gospel of Christ. We must work to bring God's government and kingdom to bear in every nation in preparation for the coming of Christ and his soon coming kingdom.
God is not slow in keeping his promises as some count slowness but is patient with us not wanting any to perish but all to come to eternal life. God in his patience is waiting on many to answer the call by the act of the will in obedience to the Great Commission. The harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send (thrust) laborers into his harvest field.
We have a part to play in praying fervently and obeying diligently and faithfully until the Lord comes.
You don't have to go to another nation to do this, though many are called to do that. Either way make a decision to live a life on mission for God.