Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday was Citizenship Day in our country. This day often goes by without notice and without mention. But I think this is an important day on our calendar. We should be asking ourselves - what does it mean to be a good citizen? What does Christian citizenship look like? How does who we are affect what we do out in the world? How can we be good Christians & yet good citizens?
Well, first of all, in this election year its important to remember that being a good citizen doesn't depend on one being either a Republican or Democrat. Jesus was neither, you know. He pretty much avoided any kind of label people wanted to put on him. And actually, if you think about it, I guess you could say that Jesus was a Liberal Conservative. Morally conservative, yet liberal with God's love and forgiveness. (But I digress ...)
In the Bible we find out that we are citizens of two kingdoms, the kingdom of the world (society and govt.) and the Kingdom of God (the church). We also come to realize that God is sovereign over everything, even the government. Paul wrote in Romans, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” As Christians, that means we are to submit to the governing authorities even though we may not always agree with them. But when they go against God's laws and commands, we must obey God rather than men.
Even though we are American citizens, as Christians our true citizenship is in heaven. We eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Paul says in 1 Timothy, “I urge, then, that requests, prayers, intercession & thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings & for all those in authority, that we may live peaceful & quiet lives in all godliness & holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved.”
That's part of what it means to be a Christian citizen.
A man once visited his longtime friend, a British military officer stationed in an African jungle. One day when the friend entered the officer’s hut, he was startled to see him dressed in formal attire and seated at a table set with silverware and fine china. The visitor asked why he was all dressed up and seated at a table so nicely set way out in the jungle. The officer explained, "Once a week I follow this routine to remind myself of who I am - a citizen of Great Britain. I maintain the customs of my real home and live according to the codes of British conduct, no matter how those around me live. I always want to remember my homeland."
We need to be reminded of that as well. This is not our final destination. Heaven is our home.