Devotion: Monday, March 18, 2019
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Philippians 3:20-21, where the Scripture says,
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Citizenship, belonging to a country, or a nation, or an empire mattered in the ancient world and, truth be told, it matters today. Citizenship established an identity in an impersonal world. It meant protection; it meant rights; it meant privileges. In our text, Paul, while not denigrating the temporal citizenship that the Philippians had as Roman citizens, reminds them of the vast differences between being a citizen of a particular country and being a citizen of heaven by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ for all. To say it simply, one citizenship lasts, and all others eventually fade into the ashbin of history. Paul reminds them, and he reminds us, of the eternal differences between the citizenship that we have in the country of our birth and the one that lasts. The latter comes from our “rebirth” into the family of God by the work of the Holy Spirit. He reminds us all of the enduring identity that comes from being redeemed by Jesus Christ and reconciled to the God who created us for eternal life in the first place.
Citizenship. In the centuries surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus, the temporal nature of the great kingdoms of this world were revealed. Rome would fall, just like Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and others did before. In fact, all human efforts to establish lasting citizenship, peace, security, and meaning will fail. That’s why the Bible’s message is so powerful. The life and salvation that Jesus offers are able to deliver what He promises. Paul reminds us today that God will place “all things into subjection under [Jesus’] feet” (1 Corinthians 15:27). As a result, Jesus has the power to bring everything that He has promised to fruition. There is even the promise that because He lives, because He is resurrected from the grave, our bodies will also be transformed to become what we were created and redeemed to be IN HIM. That’s pretty powerful stuff!
The truth of that citizenship should give us pause. And it should give us a mindset about the things of today. We are citizens of two kingdoms, one that lasts and one that is fading away. To that end, we need to prioritize things in our lives. We are to strive for excellence in the “here and now,” yes (we’re in Washington D.C. to do just that!). But we strive for that in all our vocations and duties to give God glory and to serve others in His Name! That’s the purpose of His eternal Kingdom at work in the “here and now.” It provides confidence, power, and even the protection of knowing that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).” That’s the ultimate and eternal citizenship which really matters.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to be grateful for the life and work we have in the “here and now.” May we always remember that our ultimate citizenship and allegiance are to You, the only One who gives us life here, now, and forever. AMEN.