A Better Country (a meditation on belonging to God’s kingdom)

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. ~ Philippians 3:20-21

Every few years it’s the same thing, the same speeches, and the same messages. Men and women rise up before the crowds and vow that things will be different if you vote for them. One person eventually wins, they take office, and the more things change the more they stay the same. Disappointed, people wait for the next round with new faces and new promises…

newyearWe enter into the month of July celebrating the anniversary of the birth of our nation. On the one hand, great freedoms abound; but on the other hand, great evils persist. We have better medicines, better homes, and lower crime rates than previous generations. In fact, compared to most of the history of the world and compared to most of the world today, we benefit from amazing levels of quality of life. Yet, we also still face the bitterness of racism, the genocide of abortion, and an overall sense that things aren’t getting better.

The Bible tells us that God institutes governments for our good and that he ordains the boundaries and eras of nations so people might seek after him (Romans 13 and Acts 17), yet the nations are corrupted and led by flawed and sinful men and women. We can be thankful for our freedoms (especially religious freedoms that very little of the world has ever known) and we should be prayerful against the evils of our land (praying that justice and righteousness would prevail), but if our hope is bound up in a nation or its politicians than we will be greatly disappointed again and again.

In Philippians, Paul reminds us of a great truth: yes, by birth, we might be citizens of an earthly country, but by new birth we are citizens of a greater country, a higher country, and an infinitely better country.

We wait the return of our great Savior, King Jesus. He is not a politician who will fail. He’s not someone elected by popular vote who will disappoint. He is the one who rescues and transforms. In the end everything and everyone will bow to him. For those who belong to him, this is our hope and joy.

The news and politics of the day don’t have to depress us or drag us down. Instead we keep looking for something and Someone greater. Paul says, therefore, we are to stand firm in the Lord (4:1). He is our solid rock. We are to help others live in the peace and love of reconciliation (4:2-3). We are living for something beyond the hurts and pains of this life. We are to rejoice always, serve others in love, and let go of anxiety to trust the God who grants perfect peace (4:4-7). We trust the king for what is better. And we are to let our minds dwell on what is good and praiseworthy (4:8-9). We have a better story to live and share.

The hope for change in a world enslaved to sin isn’t the politicians and legislation. The hope for change is Jesus and his gospel shining brightly through us as his people. As citizens of a heavenly country we are ambassadors on this earth (as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5). We represent the One True King as we love God and love others well. So let them see the hope and joy of Jesus in you as you rise above the fray of negativity and hopelessness of the world around.

This post is part of our continuing journey through the Bible as a church.

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