Our country is in turmoil about immigration. Who should be allowed to enter these United States? What should we do with those who are here without going through the legal processes? It’s a thorny problem created by a desperation that grows out of poverty and political turmoil that drives thousands to risk everything for a chance of a better life in this nation.
The tragedy at our southern border is compounded by fear fanned by words that I believe are primarily spoken for political advantage on both sides of conversation. There are no solutions that will satisfy every desire, that can allow every person to feel good about what happens at those borders. I pray for compassion and justice to meet as our nation wrestles with this issue! As for me, when I travel outside of the United States, I know I can go home, that I will be welcomed at our border, because I have a passport that declares that I am a citizen of the United States.
I also have another passport, granted to me freely by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ. As a citizen of the United States I enjoy protection of my rights under the law which creates an expectation that, as a citizen, I will pay my taxes, be loyal to my government, and live within the law of the land. The same is true of my heavenly citizenship. Here is how Paul speaks to that. “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 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.” (Philippians 3:18-21, NIV)
Some who claim to be Christians in reality are very much ‘at home’ in this world. The Word speaks strongly about their way of life. The governing authority of their lives is not Jesus Christ. Paul says they worship their ‘stomach.’ In other words, they lack any real desire for spiritual things, preferring instead to feed the appetites of the body without restraint. They do so with such intensity that they worship their food, their sex, their pleasure like a god! In the Old Testament record of the people of the Lord, we see many instances where they turned to worship idols, lesser gods. That choice was always accompanied by a descent into debauched, sinful lives! When a person makes appetites into a god, the Word says that they will ‘glory in their shame.’ They begin to brag about their pleasures, their conquests, the things for which they should feel shame becoming that which they celebrate instead of praising God.
But … true heavenly citizens are attuned to Heaven, guided by hope, living fully under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ! What results is a ‘transformed life’ which will ultimately lead to a total change from a dying temporal body to an eternal glorious one! Those who love the stomach god will be destroyed by their ‘worship.’ Those who love Christ Jesus will find an amazing eternal life that is beyond our human imagination. So, what are the implication of this fact?
Paul says “Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” (Philippians 4:1, NIV) Our heavenly passport creates an expectation of life from which we gain the ability to ‘stand firm,’ committed completely to our Lord and Savior.
Let’s live as citizens of Heaven, even now, in this ‘foreign land’ of the present world. Here is a word from the Word – with promise and challenge.
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18-22, NIV)
Abba, I am often tempted to love the ‘stomach god,’
to worship Self and Pleasure, rather than loving Jesus.
By the power of the Spirit, give me the ability to grasp
Heaven’s beauty, to be shaped by the hope of that Kingdom.
Fill my life- right here, right now- with Eternity.
May I celebrate Your goodness and grace,
overflowing with love, being light in the dark,
knowing the amazing assurance that comes from knowing
I have a Home awaiting me.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.