Citizens of Heaven - Bob Sawvelle

The election is over. Some are relieved, others concerned. Regardless of how you voted, keeping a Kingdom perspective is critical. We are to love one another, be kind to each other, and make every effort to keep unity within the body of Christ (John 17; Eph. 4:3).

This election was perhaps one of the most contentious in our nation’s history. Through it all, each of us learned more about being a citizen of a country. When you gave your life to Christ, however, you became a citizen not just here on earth, but also a citizen of heaven. As a citizen of heaven, you are called to live your life from another world—God’s realm. His world is free from worry and filled with peace, no matter the circumstances here on earth.

Pattern Your Life

Take Paul, for instance. In Philippians 3, Paul exhorts the reader to “pattern their lives” after his. Paul longed to know Jesus intimately—His resurrection life and even His suffering (Phil. 3:10). But how did Paul live? He lived day to day, concentrating on what lies ahead—the prize of Christ.

You see, Paul didn’t live in America, with all our freedoms, rights, and privileges. By God’s leading, he traveled to Philippi, only to be dragged through the streets, beaten, arrested, and imprisoned. Through it all, Paul kept his focus on Jesus and sharing the gospel with the world.

The letter to Philippians – Paul’s “Joy” letter – speaks of rejoicing fifteen times. Yes, he was a renowned apostle, but he was also a man, subject to pain, weakness, and suffering. Yet he learned to rejoice through it all—because he loved Jesus and understood, he was a citizen of heaven.

In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul writes,

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

We can have hope in every circumstance in life, because we can cling to the promise—though we are absent from the Lord now, there will be a day that we will see Him face to face.

Paul knew he was a citizen of another realm, heaven—far superior to his Roman citizenship. He wrote his letters under what is likely the most oppressive government ever known, and yet he told us to pray for those in authority over us (Rom. 13). He knew they were there by God’s hand, whoever they were!

Some of you are elated by the election results, and some of you are saddened. However you voted, as God’s heir you are to love others and live as members of God’s Kingdom above it all. At times God will choose the least likely candidate according to our reasoning, but God sees it differently. And we should too, because we are citizens of another world.

In Philippians, Paul exhorts the church as citizens of another world:

Walk Worthy

First, to walk worthy of this citizenship. Don’t live in a worldly manner, or be influenced by the world in how to think or act. This world is not your home—you are just passing through. Enjoy it, but remember, we are all just passing through.

Secondly, we should see everyone (and the world) through the lens of God’s Kingdom, according to the spiritual realm. 2 Cor 5:16 says, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh…” Look at things through spiritual eyes and through the heavenly mandate that is God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Represent Heaven

When you became a Christian, you became part of God’s family and became a naturalized citizen of the Kingdom.

As citizens of heaven, we have the privilege of representing heaven in this world, to bring a manifestation of God’s kingdom into our world. We are royal ambassadors for Christ—we live in one world, and yet represent another.

We have the culture, economy, and power of heaven available to us. We have salvation, healing, and deliverance available presently. Our greatest opportunity to use God’s resources and gifts is now—this side of eternity. When we pass on, there is no opportunity or need to pray for the sick, deliver the oppressed, or minister to the poor.

Trust Him and Rejoice

We are exhorted not to worry; instead pray, and trust God. Phil. 4:4,6-7 states

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! … Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

How can you be full of God’s joy? By remembering you are a citizen of heaven, and that heaven’s your personal home. By remembering you have an eternal mission—to go!

When you allow worry and fear to control you, you limit the authority you have as citizens of heaven. Remember, whatever you agree with you empower. Jesus gave us His authority, so go in His name!

You can’t control the outcome of prayer, but you can control your response to the situation. How you deal with a problem will determine your breakthrough.

In closing, we are the “called out ones.” The world should be running into our arms because this is a place of safety for all people. The church should be an “embassy of heaven” here on earth. We are to love, and not scrutinize. You see, there is a new reformation taking place, where every nation will bow before the feet of Jesus. Don’t fear—it will be the most exciting ride of our life!


Watch “Citizens of Heaven” for a more in-depth look at our heavenly citizenship. 

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