What does good citizenship look like in times of collective stress? After all, we are all in this together, and this virus has shown us in stark relief that one person’s behavior can have a huge impact. Especially now, our choices have a ripple effect that can flatten a curve or create a health crisis. Aside from our encouragement to vote, most of us have probably never been more aware of what it means to be a good citizen.
"Don't drown in the shallow end." That's this week's message in six words. James (brother of Jesus) teaches us how to get peace, become peacemakers, and how to practice the best of the grace-filled life. This week, we continue our quest to understand what it means to be a Kingdom citizen.
As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we are sent as ambassadors to a lost and hurting world. How we go determines how the world receives the heart and mind of Christ. How will you embrace and live out your sentness, so that your example in the world is attractively other-worldly?
If we carry the spirit of Christ, how could we not be special? The gifts of God that we inherit as citizens of the Kingdom of God are precious, and they are gifts to be honored even when they put us at odds with the world around us. And they will! Peter teaches us that when we put our primary allegiance in the Kingdom of God, we will often seem peculiar to a world at odds with God’s values. How do we live out our unique identity in such a way that we become more attractive and more influential in world hungry for better examples of Kingdom greatness?
Royalty is not a native to our culture but for most of the history covered by the Old and New Testaments, royalty was how leadership was described. And as with contemporary examples, royalty was very much a family affair. People were royal by blood. It was an inherited status, which means most of us never have a shot at claiming royal status on human terms. The great news, though, is that we who claim citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven do indeed have royal blood pulsing through our veins. Now, we are led to discover all that means for us as we claim our royal inheritance.
How does our citizenship on earth relate to our citizenship in the Kingdom of God? Paul once reminded the Philippians that “we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior” (Philippians 3:20). Peter takes that concept and unpacks it beautifully in his first letter to the early Church. He teaches us how our heavenly citizenship plays out on on earthly plane, and he reminds us of our core identity as citizens of Heaven.