October 29, 2020

Citizens of the Kingdom

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 29, 2020  By Tripp Prince 

For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the  city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to  God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share  what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:14-16 (NRSV) 

My eldest child was born while I was a graduate student in Canada. As such, she has both  American and Canadian passports, a fact that she is quite proud of and quick to share  with others. Though she only lived in Canada for the first year of her life, she for years  would be quick to say “I’m Canadian!” However, as the years have progressed, I’ve  noticed that sentiment seems to be less and less frequent. A decade of living in the United  States has slowly but surely shaped her. Though she still carries both passports, they are  not equal. In her outlook, values, and loyalties, she is an American with a Canadian  passport, not the other way around! 

Whatever your nationality may be, if you are a child of God, you are a citizen of his  Kingdom. And while you are also a citizen of the kingdoms of this world, these dual  identities are not meant to carry equal weight! As we spend time living in the Kingdom of  God, we are meant to be shaped and formed by the life of the Spirit in ways that make  this an unshakable core identity. Other loyalties and identities may come and go, yet our  status as citizens in his Kingdom is eternal. 

You and I live in two kingdoms and have a place in both, yet we must never conflate  them, and most importantly, we must never misplace our allegiance. To be a citizen of  God’s kingdom doesn’t mean you must live in a bunker and never leave, hiding from the  ills and evils of society. Yet it does mean that the kingdoms of this world do not give you  ultimate meaning, purpose, or identity. Pay your taxes. Vote in elections. Make a living.  Seek the good of your city, but do not give the emperor what is meant for God alone.  

While the kingdoms of this world are passing away, there is an eternal city yet to come.  And since the kingdoms and governments of this world are not eternal, they are not  worthy of our deepest devotion or highest concern. Instead, the author of Hebrews  reminds us to continually offer a sacrifice of praise and lives lived for the good of others.  We give our lives away in love as a sign of God’s coming kingdom. In short, do not mix  up your passports!

“Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to  them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he  said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God  the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:19-21).

Prayer

Father, give us a vision of your coming kingdom, and help us to live daily within  that kingdom as faithful citizens. Amen.


Application

Which passport do you carry as your primary identity?


Related Reading

Psalm 48; Psalm 87:1-3; Hebrews 11:10

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