Devotions

The Benefits of Citizenship

By Mary Loudermilk
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“So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,” (Ephesians 2:19, Christian Standard Bible).

Shortly after I graduated from college, I packed my bags and moved to a foreign country where I lived for the next three years. As you can imagine, it was quite an experience—new culture, new language, unfamiliar foods, different climate —different almost everything. Suddenly, I was the foreigner, with so much to learn as I tried to adapt to all the differences. I never did apply for citizenship; and when I left the country, my resident visa was cancelled.

Privileges and Responsibilities

Citizenship brings privileges and responsibilities. While living abroad, I enjoyed many of the same protections as a citizen (access to police, etc.) but other privileges were restricted (such as voting in an election). As a foreigner, I needed proof I would not become a financial liability to my host country, and I also needed a visa to live in that country. Had I chosen to remain permanently, citizenship would provide more benefits than I enjoyed as a non-citizen.

Although I carry a passport from the United States, I really am a citizen of another country. Philippians 3:20 tells me so: “For our citizenship is in heaven.” At the moment I suppose I could describe myself as an Ambassador at Large for the country of my true citizenship. If you are serving the Lord, you hold the same position.  Second Corinthians 5:20 describes our responsibilities—for citizenship does carry responsibilities—this way:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: ‘Be reconciled to God’” (CSB).

Wherever we go, we represent the Lord and His kingdom. Our primary job as an ambassador is to bring others to salvation so they too can enjoy all the benefits we enjoy as His child.

Heavenly Citizenship

We obtain our heavenly citizenship through our new birth experience (John 3:3). Then we are entitled to all privileges of citizenship, both on earth and eternally. In this present life we enjoy love, peace, joy, mercy, and so much more. We have access to our King and can approach Him at any time. But the eternal benefits far outweigh any blessings we receive in this present life. We will share eternity with Him in Heaven.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new . . . He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:4-7).

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all the benefits You’ve given me. My loyalty belongs to You, and I want to represent You well in all I do. Help me to never forget my responsibility to bring others to You. When I do, I will truly be Your ambassador.

 

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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