Citizens Of Heaven
By: Kristen L. McNulty
In Philippians 3:20 we're told: "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior."
You and I are citizens of heaven, but unfortunately many times we don't live like it. Picture this. Imagines someone immigrates to Canada from Iran. They settle, get a job, start a family and are granted Canadian citizenship. Twenty years go by and when we check in on them, we find a family who reside in Canada but don't live like it. Their children don't go to public school, they haven't seen a doctor in years even though as Canadians they have access to free healthcare, they have never cast a ballot in an election even though they have the freedom of democracy, they live in fear everyday of being deported, despite the fact that as a Canadian, they can't be and the consequences of never paying a cent in taxes to the Canadian government are about to catch up with them. So while this family's address puts them in Canada and their citizenship reads Canadian, they are living like they are still in Iran.
Sounds crazy, right? But it's something many of us are guilty of doing when it comes to our own citizenship. Philippians 1:27 instructs us,
"Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourself in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ."
But sadly instead of being set apart by our heavenly citizenship and what Christ has done in our lives, many of us live no different than those around us who are still citizens of this world. Instead living in the freedom that Christ brings, we put the shackles of sin back on and don't even try to escape anymore. I'm not talking about needing to be perfect, we never will be until we arrive in our heavenly home. I'm talking about a lifestyle of repetitive sin that numbs us to the Spirit and puts us in a place where other than going to church, our lives look no differently on the inside than they did before.
We're called to a higher standard! 1 Peter 2:11 says, "Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners' to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls."
1 Peter 1:14-16 says, "So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, 'You must be holy because I am holy.'"
The Grace of God will forgive us for the mistakes of yesterday, but the love of God doesn't want to leave us there today. He granted us membership into His family and status as citizens of heaven because He loves us and that love is so great that even though we were all born into this world as sinners, He doesn't want us to have to wait until the next world to experience the incredible life that comes from living like Jesus and embracing what it means to be Holy, like Him. Choosing the life-giving power of Christ over sin, time and time again because we do have a choice.
"Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him. And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:5-7)
As citizens of heaven we are granted the freedom that comes from Jesus' name and our citizenship in Him. That means we have the power in Him to send satan running. We are citizens of heaven and God in His love and grace gives us everything we need to live like it.
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at email@example.com.
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