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November 5, 2012, 10:20 AM

Christian Citizenship?

As I post this entry, we find ourselves on the eve of another election.  Don't worry!  I have no intention of delivering yet another rant for or against either presidential candidate.  Rather, this election has given me reason to consider once again the nature of our interaction with the society in which we live and the difficulty of our position as followers of Christ. 

Last week in my private devotionals I came across the fascinating passage reported in Matthew 22:15-22.  In this passage, the Pharisees send some of their disciples along with some sympathetic supporters of Herod’s corrupt regime to question Jesus about the taxes owed to their Roman overlords.  Jesus’ simple, yet profound response (“Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”) reminds us that as followers of Christ we belong to two ages or worlds – the current, corrupt age in which taxes must be paid to every governing authority and the coming age of blessing which has already begun in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. 

Our dual citizenship in these two worlds complicates our responsibilities immensely.  On the one hand, we must live in this world and fulfill our obligations here.  On the other hand, we bear the image and imprint of our Creator and Redeemer and thus owe all that we are to Him.  For now, we are called to live in both ages/worlds simultaneously, but there should never be any doubt as to which is primary.  As John wrote, "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17)."  So, I encourage you to vote and to pay your taxes.  Be great citizens of this great nation of ours!  However, if you are a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, please don't forget that you are also and more importantly a citizen of a much better Kingdom.  As citizens in the Kingdom of God, it is infinitely more important that we "give to God what is God's" than that we 'win' in this world, no matter what the contest. 

On the eve of this election, my prayer is that every follower of Jesus in this nation would be so consumed by the high calling He has placed upon our lives that our friends, neighbors and coworkers would know more about the Lord we serve than the team we root for, be it sports or otherwise.  Lord willing, there will be another election in four years, but for some of those who live and work alongside of us there may never be another opportunity to meet Jesus, the true Savior and Lord of all things.


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