A WORD FOR THE CHURCH: WE ARE TRUE CITIZENS OF ONLY ONE KINGDOM
Where does your heart lie? To whom do you give your allegiance? We are living in a day and age where believers have tried to live as “dual citizens” – living in this world, fully embracing life and culture, compromising to be accepted. All the while, these “dual citizens” are attending church weekly, reading their Bibles, and wanting all the benefits of being believers in Christ.
Our world allows for dual citizenship – where you simultaneously swear allegiance to two different nations – accessing full rights and responsibilities to each. However, some countries do not allow naturalized citizens to maintain dual citizenship. Instead, one must relinquish the citizenship of their home country of origin in order to become a naturalized citizen of certain nations. With these countries, it is assumed that if you vow allegiance to a new nation, that you cannot maintain the same loyalty for another.
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Our God is like those nations. He is a jealous God and He does not accept us bowing down to another. There are NO other gods before Him. I am not speaking anything against being a proud patriot of this land. I am speaking about being “equally committed” to two entirely different entities. Only one can truly have our true allegiance. Where does yours lie?
What the Bible Says About Citizenship
Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about this. Read this passage from Philippians 3 in three different translations:
For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself, will [not only] transform [but completely refashion] our earthly bodies so that they will be like His glorious, resurrected body. (Phil 3:18-21 AMP)
They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. (Phil 3:19 NLT)
Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. (Phil 3:17-21 MSG)
But we live in this world, right?
I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. For their sake I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth. (Jn 17:14-19 AMP)
We are called to be in this world but not of this world. We do not belong here; this is not our home. Our citizenship, our loyalty, and our devotion are to a kingdom that is not of this world – a heavenly home, a place of which we are called to bring to this earth.
Friends, we cannot have it both ways. And chances are, I am speaking to the choir. But there are MANY who are living the LIE that they can have it both ways, that they can straddle the line, without any consequence.
True, it is easier and more socially acceptable to live like those around us, to compromise what we know to be true in order to be accepted by those around us. No one wants to look different, to stand out as “that one.” And yet, isn’t that what we are called to do?
Consider the disciples: Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13 AMP)
Just like the disciples, people should see us and KNOW there is something different about us – whether they like it or not. We are not called to look like everyone around us. We are called to look like Him, like Jesus!
He was radical! He ruffled the feathers of all the highest leaders and put them on edge. He did things that weren’t acceptable (like heal or pick grains on the Sabbath). He was most often kind, gentle, and loving; other times he was bold, confrontational, and unsettling. He wasn’t afraid or worried about other people’s opinions. He lived to do the will of the Father. He lived to uphold the values of the Kingdom and His Lordship.
And then He did the most ludicrous thing! He gave up His own life – willingly, when He could have called on a legion of angels to halt ALL that was coming against Him. He spoke the world into being and He could have spoken one word and silenced every last opposing voice, annihilating His enemy. And yet, isn’t that EXACTLY what He accomplished!? He conquered death! Our God could not stay dead! He has the POWER over sin and death! HIS Name is the Name above all names and it’s at HIS name in which EVERY knee will one day bow.
Friends, we serve a LIVING God, a God who is intimately involved in the affairs of His people – a God who calls us up and out, to reach higher. And we have been created to give praise to His Glory!
So many are straddling the line. Let’s break off the chains. It’s time to lay down complacency, lukewarmness, and tolerance. It’s time to lay down double-mindedness (Jas 1:8). Divided hearts cannot co-exist; at the end of the day, we will each need to decide where our loyalty lies. We cannot live in and FOR this world and receive full benefits of another. It is like a man caught in adultery. He cannot have both; he will have to choose. And there is GREAT risk in that dabbling – that a heart will become hardened. A hardened heart will become desensitized to reality. It will forget how good, mighty, and holy our God is. Perception and understanding will become muddled. Truth will become grey and dull.
As Truth loses its significance, pride will often take over. As one’s affections and attentions divert, self-will unconsciously takes the center-stage of life. As God is pushed off the throne of one’s life self, world, and man focus will becomes the idolization.
Although the context is money, I believe the following verse highlights the fact that we cannot serve “two masters” (God AND this world):
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].” (Mt 6:24 AMP)
We are believers FIRST, patriots second. And the FIRST must have full influence over the other! As HE influences us, we cannot help but be a ripple to the culture around us. We cannot help but usher forth our/His heart’s desire for REVIVAL! Our citizenship/our identity/our value is determined by the Kingdom, not by the world.
Are you all in? Or are you straddling? Who are you building an altar to? Only ONE can sit on that throne! Let the Kingdom be the overflow from which you operate, and HE will make your paths straight – as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a friend, as a family member and yes, even as a patriot!
Share in the comments below how you are able to live “all in” and walk in the fullness of your heavenly citizenship.
Suni Piper is a writer and passionate intercessor for the nation and for the Church. She is determined and surrendered to be a voice of truth and encouragement to the Body of believers. Follow Suni at her website ASurrenderedLife.com. (Photo by Levi Ventura on Unsplash ).
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