Brian and I finally arrived in Texas on Sunday. We aren’t citizens of Texas yet, but we’re also not citizens of Illinois. Since I don’t really belong to a state right now, I’ve been thinking about the many facets of citizenship.
We may be stateless today, but we do have citizenship; our citizenship is in heaven. Just as a person becomes a citizen of a state or nation by right of birth, Brian and I became citizens of heaven when we were born again.
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying ‘you must be born again.’” – John 3:5-7
Citizens are responsible to attend to the duties, rights and privileges that are theirs because of their citizenship. It seems odd to think that I have duties, rights and privileges as a citizen of heaven. I rarely think about my heavenly citizenship in those terms. Do you?
What are the duties? As citizens of heaven, we owe loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be loyal? It means to be trustworthy, devoted, reliable, dependable, steadfast, dedicated, and faithful.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV
How well are you meeting your loyalty duties?
What are the rights? As citizens of heaven, we are not orphans! We have the right to become children of God.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” – John 1:12 NIV
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people, and also members of his household,” – Ephesians 2:19 NIV
How gracious of God to adopt us into His family and to allow us to live with Him.
What are the privileges? We have many! One privilege is the glorious future that awaits us. We know that our Lord Jesus will return and when He does, we will be made glorious as He is glorious.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” – Philippians 3:20 NIV
In the same way that a citizen can expect his or her state or country to protect him or her, we can expect God to protect us as well. He will never fail to protect us.
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name… My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” – John 17:11, 15 NIV
Brian and I are looking forward to being citizens of Texas. In some respects moving to Texas feels a little bit like coming home; we will be living close to half of our children. It doesn’t feel like we’re entering a foreign land.
One day we will enter heaven. I think that it will feel like home also, especially if I choose to live today as a citizen of heaven.
What about you? Are you living today as a citizen of heaven? Are you walking, talking, thinking, and doing what God would have you do? Are you meeting your duties and responsibilities? Do you think heaven will be foreign to you? Is there anything that you should change today so that when you enter heaven it will feel like you have simply gone home?