Our citizenship is in heaven, but until we are called home, our location is this earth. We may carry American, Brazilian, Chinese, Russian, French or British passports, but the word clearly indicates that our current citizenship is in heaven. What is our position on this earth? Where do our loyalties lie?
"But our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
As citizens of a particular country, we are to be good citizens and regularly pray for our earthly leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-3). We should obey them and be ready for every good deed (Titus 3:1). For the Lord's sake, we should submit to every human institution (1 Pet. 2:13-15). Believers should be examples of wisdom and diligence. Of course, we should never violate God's principles, since our ultimate loyalty is to the King of heaven. Daniel and Joseph provide examples of godly men who were good earthly citizens but maintained their loyalty to the King.
Paul indicates that we are ambassadors for Christ. As a U. S. ambassador would represent the interests of America, an ambassador for Christ represents the interest of the kingdom of God. A U. S. ambassador may be located anywhere in the world, but his or her citizenship is in America. An ambassador for Christ is located anywhere on the earth, but his/her citizenship is in heaven.
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us. We implore you in Christ's stead: Be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).
U.S. ambassadors are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate and will report to the State Department. All of our country's ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president. They are expected to have at least a bachelor's degree in international relations, political science, history or a related field. U. S. ambassadors make from $124,000 to $187,000. They are expected to have excellent written and oral communication skills for the country of their assignment. Hopefully, they will also have significant experience in their assigned country.
U.S. ambassadors need to be trustworthy, as they will have access to secret information. As representatives of the United States, their honesty and integrity must be beyond question. They must be loyal; not adopting the citizenship of their assigned country in word or deed. An ambassador does not have the right to introduce personal opinion but is charged with the responsibility to represent his/her country's policies. U. S. ambassadors can call on the full resources of the United States to fulfill their assignments. Some ambassadorships can be dangerous.
Christ's ambassadors are selected by the King and were called before the foundation of the world. God's ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the King. As representatives of the King, any resources needed to fulfill assignments will be provided as long as they use the King's protocols. Christ's ambassadors have access to the unlimited resources of the King.
Ambassadors to the King should be well educated in His Word. No formal education is required, but knowledge of the Word is essential to be an effective kingdom ambassador. Loyalty and trustworthiness are required regardless of circumstances or conditions. They can't serve the world and its mammon and simultaneously serve the Lord. Since ambassadors represent the King, their honesty and integrity should be beyond reproach. Personal opinions should always bow to the Word of God.
The full power of heaven backs its ambassadors. In addition to its army, called the hosts of heaven, believers can be filled with the power of God, called the Holy Spirit. The King's ambassadors are promised that nothing is too difficult for God, and that all things can be used for good because we love our King.
The Lord's ambassadorships can be physically dangerous. But physical death is no threat to the called. Ambassadors to the King have already died to self and have been reborn. Physical death is merely a transition from the earthly to the heavenly realm. The Lord's ambassador must be courageous and strong.
Heaven's ambassadors are motivated by love and appreciation. They are eternally thankful for what He has done for them. They love Him because He first loved them. The demanding role of an ambassador will cause setbacks and mistakes. But heaven's representatives are fully aware of his mercy, grace and faithfulness. He is with them, and they know His voice. Heaven's ambassadors have assurance they will overcome all.
Let us take the role of the King's ambassador with the seriousness it deserves. Let us move expectantly forward in extending the kingdom within all our areas of responsibility and influence. Let His will be done. Through Him, we can be victorious.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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