Citizenship…


Well, today 7/16/8 is an important day for my family. In particular, it is a very important day for my wife. Today, she became a citizen of the United States of America. She is “proud to be an American” even if sometimes she finds what Americans say and do to be stupid sometimes. During her swearing in ceremony today there were 464 other new Americans taking the oath of citizenship, each person having a different story and journey to this road. There were people from many, many prior nations. It is an amazing thing about this country of immigrants constantly blending. My wife’s story is not one of struggle, but of hard work and answered prayers. Others have struggles of financial difficulties, assorted hardships, and some needed asylum. For each person the day was special, each in relation to their own stories.
So this being said, my guess is if you have followed my blog, you may be anticipating my turning attention to some spiritual lesson or use this to talk about Christianity. If so you would be right. A central tenet of Christianity is that we are citizens of heaven. Philippians 3:20(NIV) : “20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The ultimate allegiance to all Christian believers is to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A person agrees to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when they accept the gift provided in Yeshua the Messiah and turn from our previous allegiance to our own kingdom. The picture of immigration is a good metaphor what happens when someone becomes a Christian and becomes a citizen of heaven.
In hearing the oath of citizenship, I was reminded of three essential principles every citizen needs to follow. Submit to authorities, defend the country, and be willing to serve as required. I believe the same is true for the Citizens of Heaven. We are above all to submit to Jesus. We are to follow what Jesus commands. The essential core of the commands of the kingdom are to love God with the entirety of our being and to love our neighbors are our self. These two commands sum up all the Torah and Prophets. It is following the Word of God. Letting it shine the light before us on the correct ways to walk and as such, wherever a citizen of heaven resides, they are to submit to those in authority over them, even if they act in ways unbefitting said submission, with the exception of being asked to violate the Word of God. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all exemplified that very principle. We are to follow their examples.
We are also to defend the Kingdom of Heaven. Such defense is not a matter of worldly warfare with swords and guns and revolution. The defense of the kingdom of even resides in prayer, in speaking truth and confronting lies, and in loving others. The truth that we speak and use is that of the Word of God. Our defense is our position as a citizen in heaven and all the benefits and responsibilities that entails. So we each have responsibilities in the spiritual war against evil and for the souls of mankind. Each citizen of heaven has a role to play. Some are in support, some are on the front lines, it all varies per the gifts and positions we were given in the Kingdom of Heaven.
We are also to serve the Kingdom of Heaven as required. If God says go, we need to go. We have to be willing to do anything and go anywhere. We are to serve other citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are not to sit by and collect the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven and not serve as requested.
These are simple things, yet there are some out there that have a different concept of being citizens of the heaven and see it as our responsibility to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. No while we are to enlarge the kingdom though making disciples as we are going and following our directions in service to the King of Kings . It is not about establishing political power. It is not about restoring all that is evil to good. Jesus will do that when he returns. Rather we are to submit, defend, and serve.
In tying things all together, each citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven does have a different story. No story or picture of how we became citizens will be alike. The process is generally the same, but plays out differently in each life and story. We all have different roles in the kingdom of heaven which follows the essential responsibilities of submission, defense, and service. As always if anyone has anything to say or thinks I am off on any point, or has any questions, please leave a comment. Also another trend is I sometimes will just simply leave some Christian lyrics for thought as I close the commentary. This time I will leave you with Petra’s Not of This World.

Petra Not Of This World lyrics
Words and music by Bob Hartman
Based on 2 Peter 2:11, John 15:18-19, John 16:33, Matthew 16:18, John 14:3
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it seems so clear
This world will never want us here
We’re not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don’t belong
(Chorus)
We are strangers, we are aliens
We are not of this world
We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There’s so much to do before we leave
With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
And the gates of hell will not prevail
Jesus told us men would hate us
But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness
And soon we will depart from here
Petra Not Of This World lyrics

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