Remembering Our True Citizenship
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 3:20
Some people are more forgetful than others. Personally, I’ve had to put more than a few routines in place in my own life to remember certain things (like car keys or my phone or to pick something up from the store on the way home). In addition to being forgetful of those somewhat trivial things, I for one am so prone to forget, or at least lose focus of more important things – like the fact that my citizenship is in heaven. Have you ever lost focus of that? We can get so caught up in the cares and concerns of this earthly life that we seem to forget our heavenly life. One brother reminded me of this recently with a quick encouragement. “Keep looking down, bro,” he said. I must have given him a look that responded, “Is that supposed to be encouraging!? Shouldn’t I keep my eyes up instead!?” Then he finished his reminder, “You’re seated in heavenly places.” Amen to that!
Over the past few years I’ve been blessed to do quite a bit of international traveling to some very physically and spiritually impoverished places. One thing I always do, upon every return to the U.S., is give thanks for my citizenship here as I sing or hum to myself “God Bless America” while going through Customs. Security or other travelers may look at me a little funny, but I don’t care. This is a special nation we live in with so many blessings and freedoms. But brothers and sisters, how much greater is our final destination – our true homeland from which we are pilgrims and sojourners here on this earth. This is not a citizenship that we have been naturally born into but one that has been received by faith. Although it is freely given to all, it was not freely acquired. This is a citizenship that had to be purchased – the price however, we could never afford. Yet, in the face of our spiritual poverty, Jesus stepped in and purchased that citizenship for us in indescribable grace and mercy that stretches far beyond our understanding. The price was so high, in fact, it cost Him His own life, given for us on an agonizingly brutal cross. As blood poured out of the innocent Lamb of God and He breathed His last, all of the many things that kept us from heaven were put to death forever right on that cross. Colossians 2:14 puts it like this: “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Hallelujah! In this way, He purchased our freedom, our forgiveness, our redemption, our restoration, our eternal citizenship in heaven!
Today, with our citizenship assured, we are destined for glory. Destined for the Lamb’s supper. Destined for heaven “from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior.” This month, may we not only remember and celebrate the first coming of our Christ, but may we eagerly await His return! And brothers and sisters, as we wait, may we do as all of the other citizens of heaven are doing right now – worship. There are countless verses that give us a glimpse into the sound of the heavenly realm. It is a continuous song of praise and thanks that we can’t begin to imagine. But we can join in this side of heaven and make our own joyful noise. May we lift our voices and sing songs that reflect our true citizenship. May we simply remember our true citizenship, live lives that reflect that truth, and keep looking down.