17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Examine / Explain
Those who have citizenship in heaven should be able to be spotted according to the pattern of Christ’s likeness. We have the ability to disciple others in that same pattern. And like Paul, we should weep over those who call themselves followers of Christ but add requirements to salvation. They are headed for destruction and separation from God in eternity, and in eternity, we will finally be complete in our conformity to Christ. For all things natural and supernatural are under His control.
How do I apply this to my life?
If we are in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven while we are on earth. So, we are ambassadors on foreign soil. As ambassadors, we are only allowed to push the agenda of our home nation. How does my ambassadorship look? How often am I pushing my agenda for my gain? How am I influenced by those who claim to be ambassadors with me, yet they have requirements and rituals added to the ambassadorship? One day, I will stand before Christ in eternity. Can I stand and say I have an overwhelming knowledge of who You are? Did I do the will of the Father in this foreign land? Have I studied and applied the Word of Life in my life? Have I lived on every single word of God? Do I hunger and thirst for the word so that while I’m on earth, I am already transforming into a representation of Christ? My life must align with His image long before I reach heaven. If I don’t look like Christ down here, do I really know Him, and if I don’t know Him, he doesn’t know me. That means I played Christian for a big part of my life, and I will not spend eternity with Christ, but separated. I believe I do know Him. Does that mean I am perfect? Don’t struggle or not fail while walking around down here? NO! But I can walk in the confidence that is Christ and lead others by example through grace. I am thinking of verses I heard yesterday.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
A citizen of heaven must embody and re-present heaven wherever they go. Are we doing that? I see videos of “Christians” trying to “beat” non-believers into submission to Christ. I know there are people out there living a life worthy of the calling of loving others the way Christ wants to, but we hardly get to see it. We are to be wise, gentle, shred, and appealing. Not a false sense of appealing, but a life in Christ shines a light in a dark world and must look different. It is attractive because a life truly lived in Christ appeals to those hurting in a hurtful world. How are we re-presenting Christ as ambassadors of heaven on earth?
What is my response?
Father, am I being an ambassador for You? Am I representing Christ? Am I brokenhearted over those who claim to be Christ-like but add works to salvation? Am I handling that with grace and lovingkindness? Father, I look to have boldness in my faith. I am not conforming to what this world has boxed up as boldness in beating Your word into them. A boldness that you have created in me as a curiosity. And I want boldness to overcome my anxiety. I know I am not built for a “man on the street,” but you have built me to be for conversation. You have allowed me to share who You are through my story and others. A chance to see what citizenship in heaven can look like. To display redemption, grace, and salvation by Your power working in and through us. Thank you for all You are doing in my life. But I want to thank You more for just being in my life. The most incredible opportunity is to be in Your presence. To know my heavenly Father is always with me. Amen.