A Citizen of Heaven

In our weekly Bible study, Kemper has mentioned Heavenly citizenship several times.  Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the Law of the jurisdiction that bestows on that person (called a citizen) the rights and the duties of citizenship.  What prevents us from receiving our Heavenly citizenship status?  At the core, it is the spirit of “self-preservation”.  The false self wants to preserve its current way of life even though it is one of scarcity.  It is always in lack or need.  Peace is a distant reality always out of reach to one who focuses on “self”.  Paul discusses Heavenly citizenship in Philippians 3.  He first gives real examples of himself and others:

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

A pattern is a specific example to imitate with the purpose of achieving the same result.  Jesus was the pattern Son as our example.  Everyone wants to achieve the result of a glorified body, but how many are truly walking out the path to get there?  People need examples that promote Love, maturity, and lawfulness.  The examples must minister life to others, not just your “vertical” relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  We are called to Love mankind in whatever capacity and opportunity we have as individuals.  If we simply sit in our prayer closets all day, we have done nothing for our brother (except of course if you are called as an intercessor).  Don’t get me wrong, quality time with Our Heavenly Father is critical.  However, if you do nothing on the “horizontal” side of ministering to others, you are missing the point of being a disciple of Christ.  We are called to serve mankind.  Paul continues….

18 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: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

Who is an enemy to the Cross?  The one who serves “self”, whose god is their belly, one who focuses on earthly things.  It is that spirit of self-preservation.  Those who fail to place their carnal nature on the Cross will experience destruction.  Those who deny “self” will satisfy the requirements of citizenship in Heaven and attain the rights given to all of its citizens:

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

A primary enemy to “self-preservation” is giving.  How do I know this?  Simply look at the qualities of the lawless.  They are “takers”, not “givers”.  Their goal is to extract as much from others as they can.  In contrast, Our Heavenly Father gave HIS Son.  Giving is a primary characteristic of a mature son or daughter of Our Heavenly Father.  What better example of this than Jesus giving Himself on the Cross.  Jesus said: "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together,and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."  I have found that this Scripture applies to many facets of life.  If you give kindness, you receive kindness.  If you promote hatred, you receive hatred.   Yes, if you give money, you will receive money.  People want to stay away from the money topic because of its past abuses.  That does not change the reality of this Scripture.  Those who are givers know what I am talking about.  Your responsibility is to give and your blessing isn’t determined by the recipient’s proper use.  Your blessing is determined by your intent.  Our Heavenly Father will reward your willingness to give with the proper intent.  Your carnal nature cannot understand this reality and thus will convince you to hold on to your money.  It will rationalize away any unction to give.  When Jesus spoke those words in Luke 6:38, He had just said to judge not.  One of the greatest hindrances to giving is judging the recipient.  When Our Heavenly Father tells me to give, I must not judge the person receiving the gift.  That is HIS job.  My responsibility is to be obedient to giving.  The test of giving is to see if you are led by self-preservation and rationalization.  I have found over the years that if HE says to give and I delay, my old man will begin to provide a myriad of reasons not to give.  Instead, I have learned to respond quickly.  HE has blessed my family accordingly.  If you are a reluctant giver, whatever blessing designated to you will be hindered to the same degree.  Just weights and measures apply to giving as they do to other areas.

In order to mature, each of us must deal with this topic and its ramifications.  To be a citizen of Heaven, we cannot omit certain requirements because people are sensitive about them.  Don’t let your belly dictate your direction.

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