By Emily Pollard
Civic freedom is a privilege Americans have had for centuries. It is also something many people around the world have never experienced. Throughout history, both free and tyrannical governments have risen and fallen. As Americans, we bask in the glory of our freedom. We exercise our rights. We even take freedom for granted, while citizens of socialist and communist nations long for the freedom we have. When our freedom is threatened, we feel like it’s the end of the world. But the bottom line is, whether living in a free country or an oppressive one, Christians are citizens of a different nation altogether. We are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” of God’s (1 Pet. 2:9). Paul explains this also in his letter to the Philippian church…
“But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”
At every turn, we’re bombarded with news of corruption, injustice, and oppression around the world. Fear strikes our hearts at immorality that is accepted and even encouraged. We react with fear because we know our native country to be our homeland, and as the world moves further from Truth, we feel less and less at home. Certainly, Paul knows exactly how this feels as he wrote the book of Philippians in jail after being arrested for sharing Jesus.
But the beauty of belonging to God’s kingdom is that we have a better home waiting. Through civil unrest or persecution, Christians on earth have an opportunity to live exemplary lives (1 Pet. 2:11-12, 15) and become more like Christ (1 Pet. 2:21-23) through trials. Even more so, in death, the faithful Christian has nothing to lose and everything to gain (1 Cor. 15:53-56). Whether we’re talking about cancel-culture or blatant persecution (both of which happen today), Paul’s message rings true. We must never let the instability of this world overshadow the glory of Heaven. No matter what happens, our homeland is Heaven, and our Ruler is God.
(Photo credit: Kellsey Erin Photography)