Where is our Citizenship?
If someone were to ask you where does your citizenship reside, how would you respond? I think most of us would name the country of our birth without a second thought. The apostle Paul, however, had a different answer to this question:
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. – Philippians 3: 17–20
As Christians we are first and foremost citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom! Secondarily, we are citizens of a particular earthly nation. What does this mean, and why is it important? The fact is that it’s vitally important to how we prioritize our time, make decisions, and conduct our lives on a daily basis.
Do you find yourself falling into despair as you watch the latest news in the world? As a Christian, are you finding it increasingly difficult to cling to the teachings of the Bible on issues of morality and of right and wrong as the pressures of society begin to weigh against you? Are you beginning to compromise the morals and values that the Bible teaches in order to be more accepted by society?
So many times today even fellow Christians are saying to one another that we need to choose the lesser of two evils. Is this really what we are called to do? Is it not this willingness to always compromise the righteous standard of God that has led us to the current state of affairs? What lies behind this statement of needing to choose the lesser of two evils? Is it not a confusion of citizenship? In essence, we are saying that our devotion to an earthly place is greater than our devotion to the Kingdom of God. We are called to be salt and light in this world; to live as a shining example of what it means to be a citizen of Heaven.
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. – Matthew 5:13-16
When we compromise the righteous standard of God we lose our saltiness and dim the light of our Christian witness by making hypocrites of ourselves. How can we share the gospel with unbelievers and call them to repentance for their sins if we are willing to compromise the righteous standard of God ourselves? As an example, we must consider carefully who we vote for to represent us and whether we are compromising the righteous standards of God in doing so.
Still not convinced? Consider Joshua’s words:
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." – Joshua 24:15
Would any of us seriously say, "Well the gods of the Amorites were worse than the gods of our ancestors so I guess we will choose them?” I certainly hope not! I certainly hope we would stand up and declare, “We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and we will not bow to any false god or idol and we will not compromise the righteous standard of God!"
Is not the Kingdom of God of greater importance than any earthly nation that comes and goes like the wind? The Kingdom of God is eternal and is not limited by earthly borders. In fact, it can be said without question that the Kingdom of God is strongest in the places of greatest persecution where Christians are willing to lay down their lives rather than compromise the righteous standards of God! May we NEVER FORGET that God is sovereign over all the world and no elected leader of any nation can thwart God’s Kingdom from coming! Take heart and know that God is in control of all things so we need not despair nor be afraid!
May we make our stand with God and His Kingdom today and forevermore!