Meditation Moments 61:
I am a stranger here
Within a foreign land,
My home is far away
Upon a golden strand.
Of realms beyond the sea,
I'm here on business
For my King!
Our citizenship isn't here! And there is a wonderful Scripture about this in the 3rd chapter of Philippians, beginning with verse 7:
God's Word says, "But what things are gain to me, these I count as loss for Christ." -- Paul was saying that all things were just nothing, he counted them loss! They weren't worth anything compared to that which he received in the Lord Jesus Christ!
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
"And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, neither were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." -- Now we go on to the portion that I especially want to mention, in verse 17:
"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction and whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
-- Now let's mark that sentence, "who mind earthly things," because we are going to say something about that: "... who mind earthly things, for our citizenship is in Heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." And in 2Timothy 2:3 and 4 we find also these words: "Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." -- So you see, the Word tells us that no good Christian soldier entangleth himself in the affairs of this life.
Some years ago I did not have my citizenship in this country because I had married a Swede who had been born in Sweden, and who didn't have this citizenship. It was during the days of the war, and if you married one who was an alien, you became an alien! Though my people had been born in this country! My great-grandparents and all!
Yet that made an alien of me, and every month I had to send in where I was, and account for myself because I was "an alien!" It was such a ridiculous situation and I can tell you it was most embarrassing! And it took me some time to get that citizenship.
It was then that this passage became such a comfort to my heart, that my citizenship was in Heaven! "For our citizenship is in Heaven," Philippians 3:20. -- And I want to comment on this for just a wee bit.
Some time ago I found myself one night paying a real price and sacrifice to sit up and hear through a late program. It was regarding one of our national crises, I think at that time it was in Africa.
I wanted to be well-informed, and more and more I found myself trying to keep up with as many phases of that situation in Africa, not realizing until this particular night that it was telling on me spiritually!
I was getting so entangled with the affairs of this world that it was taking the keen edge off my spiritual life! Though I wasn't doing anything worldly, except just trying to keep up with the news, to be well-informed so I could converse intelligently with other people.
But I found myself trying to keep up with so many phases of the mess this old world is in, and I couldn't do it without worrying and feeling almost in bitterness sometimes, and in some frustration because of the world condition! So it was on this particular night, of this late program, I just had it out with my soul.
I'm not saying anything against being well-informed! But with information that is needful and can be used for God's Glory, that's different! I want to be a good citizen and do all I can to help my country, but first of all, let's remember this passage, that our citizenship is in Heaven!
As the song says, "we're here on business for the King," and our real citizenship isn't here! You cannot be true to that Heavenly Citizenship and have so much time absorbed with the affairs of this world, even with the present world crises!
If we really believe our citizenship is in Heaven we'll not become so attached to this world, nor absorbed in every little news about each tragic condition! Because its fears drive us to tension, its troubles cause us loss of time and sleep, and time that we could spend in prayer.
Beloved, there are so many of the world to tend to the world's affairs! Our time and strength and money must be cast on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the side of things eternal!
Our attitude as a citizen of Heaven is to be detached from this world, not attached to it! Not to be conformed to this world, though we be well-informed in some ways, but we are to be transformed by our living in the things that are eternal, and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and living upon His Word!
We must have a deep realization that we are living for eternity and not for time, and our Heavenly citizenship can never be put in a secondary place. There was never a day when spiritual matters could be so easily put in a second place, met with some silly little excuse, like I was making, that the things of time are taking our thoughts and our energies.
Men are not facing up to eternal facts with moral issue like they did, they have no sense of values, their comparisons of values are forgotten today! I don't know just how to express it the way I long to, but eternal things call so earnestly today because the Lord is needing every soldier, and that soldier cannot entangle himself in the things of this world.
We can't thoughtlessly give ourselves to the temporal because we are defeated spiritually by all this hubbub about us! If we could but see the events of life framed up in the ultimate results that they lead to, what a change there would be in our lives and in our sense of values.
God help us that we might keep the divine perspective clear! Is there someone reading this that is content to lose a soul because they're so occupied with the temporal that they have no time for things eternal?
Philippians 3:20 states that our citizenship is in Heaven, "from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." -- Are you looking for Him?
Are you really looking for His coming as He has promised? Or are you looking at TV so much and looking at the news and all these other things so much that you don't think much about His coming, and your affections are not set upon the things that are above, but they are set upon the things that are on the earth?
God's Word says in Colossians, "ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God" and "Set not your affections on the things on earth, but on the things that are above." And Hebrews 13:14 states, "We have here no continuing city, but we look for one to come."
Maybe there are some Christians who have said like the disciples of old, "Yes Lord, I'll follow! I believe these things, I will follow Thee and these things!" But beloved, it's going to take some real action on your part.
You're going to have to live in God's Word and take a definite stand before others, and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ! Won't you accept the Word of these Scriptures and believe that in Him you can have a supply of His strength and His wisdom, to take an active part in His Service, in the affairs of the heavenly Kingdom where your real citizenship is?
God's Word says, "He that heareth My Word and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." -- That's where your life is! There is a little verse that says,
"Taste and see that the Lord is good!" -- If you'd just taste, by giving Him a chance to work in your heart! You'd need only a taste to make you long to know Him better and live more in His Word! He wants to help you! He longs to solve your problems and lift your burden and comfort you! Keep looking up! He answers prayer.
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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