July 27, 2022 | Dan Low
I recently heard about a faith community in SoCal named Citizens (our older son’s good friends attend that church). I love their name because it represents our real identity in Christ. While we live here on earth, our actual citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). No longer strangers and aliens, our gracious Father has brought us into his kingdom and made us fellow citizens with the saints (Ephesians 2:19).
For as long as we have been married and serving together in ministry (33+ years), Helen has loved teaching middle schoolers. If there’s a time that challenges and shapes our identity, it’s this critically formative season. We want them to know they are loved by God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom through Jesus. This defines who we are and how we live.
For middle schoolers and everyone else, the Spirit elevates our perspective to heaven in the midst of our struggles on earth. Enduring a literal lockdown as a prisoner for the gospel, the apostle Paul exemplifies a resilient joy in the Lord as a heavenly citizen (Philippians 1:3-5, 18-19).
What does that look like for us as COVID-19 persists into the foreseeable future? Cultivating a hopeful outlook of heaven enables us to create an impactful legacy on earth. Instead of just reading COVID as COronaVIrus Disease, let’s also pursue these five traits as citizens of heaven: Compassion (Philippians 1:7: I hold you in my heart), Occupation (1:27: standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel), Vision (3:14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus), Intercession (1:9: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment), and Dedication (2:20: For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare).
Compassion: How can we reflect God’s heart for others?
Occupation: Where has God strategically placed us to serve as his ambassador?
Vision: What can we pursue more purposefully for God’s eternal kingdom?
Intercession: When can we add prayer more naturally into the things we already do?
Dedication: Who can we bless for their authentic love and care for others?
I also love the name of our church—and what it signifies. As the Bread of Life, Jesus explains that his Father gives the true bread from heaven (John 6:23-33). What we experience now with Jesus on earth previews what we will cherish forever with God in heaven as its citizens.