Citizens of Heaven
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20
Citizenship. I believe it is something most of us take for granted. If you’re like me, you were born an American and my citizenship was automatic. I never had to consider, choose or apply to attain it. I was born this way. I am so thankful to be an American! As messed up as the world is and even our own country, I still believe it is the best place in the world to live. I know God has planned for me to live in this country for the space of time that I will be here in the world. However, today’s scripture is talking about a different citizenship, a citizen of heaven. Again, if you’re anything like me, you did have to decide at some point to consider and make a conscience decision to become a citizen of heaven! It did not happen automatically. It is only obtained by surrendering this earthly life to a loving Father and receiving His gift of Salvation through His first born Son and it far exceeds the kingdom of America!
So because I didn’t have to choose my earthly citizenship, I find that I don’t quite get the full impact of being born again into the kingdom of heaven. Think about the benefits of being an American. The freedoms we have here to life, liberty, protections against evil, freedom to work, own property and pray just to name a few. The list could go on for quite a while. Now think about the benefits of being a citizen of heaven. Certainly, the benefits are far greater and supersede the earthly realm. Yet, we often fail to walk in that citizenship even though it is ours. Think about this: In Acts 22, Paul declared his citizenship as a Roman to avoid a roman punishment. There were laws to protect romans and Paul knew that. Was it wrong for him to declare his citizenship because it benefitted him? Of course not. Just like it is not wrong for us to walk in our benefits as Americans today. So why do we as Christians not take the time to understand the kingdom principles better so we can benefit from them? Is it wrong that we want to benefit or have an advantage over those on the outside? Certainly not!
Psalms 103 talks about some of the benefits of God’s kingdom. This passage actually tells us not to forget about these benefits. It says: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:2-5)
These are just a few of God’s benefits and it is not wrong for us as His people to walk in them. All of God’s promises in His Word are for us as citizens of heaven and His Holy Word is full of all the successful ways He wants us to live as His citizens and children. We are not only citizens, we are also His family. How much it must please our Father when we succeed in all the things He sent His Son to acquire for us.
Today I want to encourage you to consider your heavenly citizenship. Think about your benefits as an American, then think about the greater benefits as a Christian. Then be thankful! Be thankful that you never have to spend a day in the torments of hell! Be thankful that he causes all you do to triumph (2 Cor. 2:14)! Be thankful that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and be thankful that whatever you do will prosper (psalms 1:3)! We were born again into His Kingdom, and it rules over and above all the earth! (Psalms 103:19)
Today’s scripture reading: Philippians 3:17-21