Philippians // Citizenship

  Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Bible verse 1: Philippians 3:20

Bible verse 2: Colossians 3:1

Last year I taught seventh grade civics class. We spent the first part of the year reading and talking about citizenship. What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens and their government? What did it mean to be an American?

It doesn’t take long to figure out that our world isn’t perfect. How can it be when we, as imperfect people, try to govern ourselves? No matter which way politics and governments go, people are bound to be unhappy. But rejoice, sisters! No matter how much corruption and injustice there is in the world, we have an even greater calling than simply being American, we are citizens of heaven! That’s right. You don’t have to wait until our life on this Earth ends to be a citizen there, you have this citizenship now!

The interesting thing about civics (and the idea of citizenship) is that it is essentially a contract between a government and its people, which means that both parties contribute to this agreement. Jesus gives us salvation, and eternity with Him and His holy father. We, on the other hand, also have rights and responsibilities, mainly to love God and our neighbor. 

No matter what nationality you are, the beautiful thing about our faith is that all of us, from all over the world, have something even more important than being American or British or Kenyan in common. We are all citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. That makes everyone our neighbor, when you think about it. That means that we must be striving to improve the life of everyone we meet. As Paul says in Galatians "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

It is easy to get carried away with the day to day tasks of our lives. It is easy to keep our minds on “earthly things”, it isn’t so easy to remember that we are already citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. So I challenge you (and me) to ask ourselves: do we live like we are?

In Colossians 3:1 Paul tells us that “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Each day we need to wake up and remember our true heritage. We need to remember to seek what is above, to do the duties and responsibilities that all citizens of God’s Kingdom have. We need to challenge ourselves to love God and neighbor better. We need to be better citizens.

Reflection question 1: What does your earthly citizenship mean to you? How does that translate to your citizenship in God’s Kingdom?

Reflection question 2: What do you think are some of the duties and responsibilities we have as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven?

Act: Today, pick some of the duties and responsibilities you listed above. Be conscious of doing those today!