June 26, 2008
Remebering My True Citizenship
by Mike Pohlman, Editor, Christianity.com
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
With the Fourth of July holiday quickly approaching I am reminded of what a privilege it is to be an American. There are countless blessings that accompany my earthly citizenship. For example, our democracy, though imperfect, affords me the opportunity to help choose our nation’s leaders. And with the presidential election in full swing, I have confidence that there will be a peaceful transition of power—even as passions are high on both sides of the political aisle.
Not only politically, but spiritually we are blessed as American citizens. As Americans we have the freedom to worship unhindered by the state. A bedrock principle of our great nation is religious freedom. My family of six does not have to “go underground” to participate in church on Sunday mornings; we assemble freely. (Of course, the American church’s weakness today compared to, for example, the Christian church in China, may have to do with our taking this freedom of assembly for granted. But that’s another topic.) With the Fourth of July upon us, I am more grateful than ever for my American citizenship.
And yet, I am restless. I am not at ease in my “earthly Zion.”
God would have me love another citizenship—my heavenly citizenship. Indeed, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ….” The Christian is reminded in Scripture time and time again to consider himself in this world a “sojourner,” “exile” and “pilgrim.” We are not to get too comfortable in our earthly cities for, like Abraham, we should be seeking earnestly our heavenly city, whose architect and builder is God (cf. Hebrews 11:10).
I don’t know about you, but I love the way music can capture great biblical truths. You hear, for example, this restlessness in Jon Foreman’s “Lord, Save Me From Myself” when he sings: “This world is where I breathe, but it will never be called home.” And Kristian Stanfill, on his new EP “Hello,” captures this pilgrim mindset beautifully by pointing us to the “Spring of Life”:
In this life we will find, we will be yearning. In this life we will find, the world won’t satisfy. In this life we will find, we will be empty without you. Jesus you’re the well that won’t run dry. Jesus you’re the drink that satisfies. Living water, Spring of Life, Jesus you’re the well that won’t run dry.
I love my country, but I long for another land. I am grateful to be an American, but absolutely astounded that, by the grace of God, my true citizenship is in heaven.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Consider doing a Bible study that catalogues all of the benefits that come with being first and foremost a citizen of heaven. What are the implications of this? What does this reality call me to be and do?