Where Is Your Citizenship?

Wake Up Call

I have a friend who has dual citizenship and that is a puzzle to me. What do you do if there is a conflict between the interests of those two countries? Which side are you on? In this particular case, the two countries are the United States and Canada so I know conflict seems unlikely. The U.S. and Canada are great friends. But being a somewhat “black and white” person I still find it hard to understand. Doesn’t loyalty to one necessitate disloyalty to the other? Doesn’t your heart have to be one place or the other?

Part of the dictionary definition of “citizen” is one who “owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it.” In the book of Philippians, Paul the apostle writes; “For our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). He is referring to those who have become disciples of Jesus Christ. So Paul is telling us to place our allegiance to the government that is in heaven, centered on eternal things.

Can we retain citizenship in both heaven and earth like my friend who is a citizen of both the United States and Canada? I don’t think so. The governmental systems of heaven and earth are too different. The system on earth says to accumulate money and material things. In contrast, Jesus said; “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

Another striking contrast is how the two governments view the treatment of an enemy. From an earthly perspective we are justified to hate our enemies and treat them accordingly. But Jesus said; “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) As we go through the Word of God, there is instance after instance of the irreconcilable chasm between the two systems.

Each one of us needs to make a decision. Duel citizenship isn’t an option. We have to give our allegiance to one or the other. So I ask you: earth or heaven – where is your citizenship?

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