King Jesus & His Citizens Of Heaven

It is a weird time to be a Canadian. I’m not that old *cough* but in all the years I have been aware of politics I have never felt the political atmosphere so amped up. Not only do we have our Canadian government being voted on soon but we also have the United States going through their incredibly long and conflicted run for President.  Just typing this I feel my shoulders begin to tense. We allow earthly politics far too much power over our emotions and thoughts. I am stunned by the amount of pastors in the US who try to draw politics into their church and worship of God. I have never ever seen any positive fruit from doing so. I think the reason why it is so unhelpful and even harmful is because while we function as citizens as a country on earth our true citizenship is actually in heaven and therefore our eyes need to be focused on our King who we represent on earth — King Jesus!

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. (Philippians 3:17-21)

When we allow our earthly politics to dictate our relationships and internal stress level it actually speaks to our faith in God and His power and plan.  Do we really believe that God is in control? If so, then act as good citizens in so far as you can all the while recognizing that this is all temporary.  We are made for eternity.  Therefore, do we allow eternity to shape how we treat each other?  Earthly politics are in the hands of God who in a moment can turn the heart of a leader.  Which is why King Solomon wrote,

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. (Proverbs 21:1-4)

Our citizenship in Heaven really should shape our priorities and what concerns us most — bringing glory to God! Election time might be one of the times Christians are watched most closely.  People wait to see what and how we will react/respond.  People listen to hear how we speak to others and about others. As I pondered and prayed through this I was brought to 1 Peter 2 which really spoke to my heart because it recalibrated my attention onto who I am and whose I am even in this broken world so loved by God.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” 

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I’ll leave that for you and I to ruminate on — there’s a lot there.  I believe our call as Christians is very clear —  we need to shine as lights in these politically uncertain times. Our hope is built upon Christ not a Prime Minister or President. Our joy is found in the love of our Saviour not the power and platforms of a political party.  We have a King and His name is Jesus and He WILL bring justice and He DOES shine as a Light in the darkness.  He restores and refocuses, transforms and renews and one day, every tear will be dried and every wound will be healed.  There will be no more sickness or death. His name is name is the name above all names and before Him every knee will bow. Even now, He is reigning as the Saviour of the world.  Even now His hand is active to save.  Even now we can choose to lift our voices to him — fix our eyes upon him, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  No other leader has served, sacrificed and loved as He has and continues to before the throne of God on our behalf.  May we point people to God through our love because as Jesus said in John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

A Prayer For How We Live & Love As Citizens Of Heaven

Lord, help us to be voices of healing and peace. Keep our eyes fixed upon You even as we function as citizens of earthly countries. May we never lose site of our citizenship in heaven and our call to be Ambassadors fo reconciliation. May we overflow with love that is patient and kind; love that does not envy or boast; love that is not arrogant or rude. Love that does not insist on its own way; that is not irritable or resentful; that does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. May our love bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things because it is YOUR love that fills our hearts. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). May You be honoured and glorified in our lives as we exalt You over all. Amen.

Christ Exalted Over All (Vertical Worship)

From heaven’s throne, You came to us, And set your heart upon the cross,We’ll never know the sacrifice You’ve made.For all our sin and all our shame, You took the nails, You took our place,No one else could do what You have done.

One name is higher, One name is stronger.Than any grave, than any throne, Christ exalted over all.

From the grave, where death would die, You rose again and brought us life.You’re reigning now, the Saviour of the world.You’re reigning now, the Saviour of the world.

One name is higher, One name is stronger.Than any grave, than any throne, Christ exalted over all.The only Saviour, Jesus Messiah. To You alone our praise belongs, Christ exalted over all.

We’ll sing your praise, We’ll sing your praise, We’ll sing your praise forever.We lift your name, We lift your name, Jesus over all.