Live Up (Secret to a Joy Filled Life, pt 6)

I love talking with immigrants. They love the USA. They love the freedom, opportunity and acceptance. They have come here and are working hard to become naturalized citizens. Their work ethic and patriotism warm my heart.

I recently read this, “US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, ‘The only title in our democracy superior to that of president is the title of citizen.’

I wish more of us would understand what the immigrants know. We need to live up to being a US citizen!

That is not only true of Americans, but it is true of Christians too. There are many Christians today, who are willing to use Jesus as a get out of hell free card. Instead we should live up to what it means to be a citizen of heaven.

In Philippians 3:15-21, Paul is telling his friends from Philippi to Live Up to Their Heaven Citizenship.

The Bad News is that there are people who are enemies of God. They are joy suckers. They don’t necessarily steal your joy with one punch, but they do it with a thousand cuts. When you think of enemies of God, I don’t want you to think of people who persecute the christians or blow up church buildings. They are God’s enemies for sure, but let me help you understand who are God’s enemies.

There are many Christians today, who are willing to use Jesus as a get out of hell free card. Instead we should live up to what it means to be a citizen of heaven.

In Romans 5:6-11, Paul uses four words to describe what we are before we have a saving relationship with Jesus: 1). Powerless, 2). Ungodly, 3). Sinners, and 4). Enemies. I remember the first time I read this. I was a freshman at Taylor University. I wasn’t a Christian. I was taking an introduction to the New Testament class. I didn’t like the Bible calling me God’s enemy. So for about two weeks, I argued with God about it. Finally, I looked up and asked, “How am I, Your enemy?” To my surprise, in my heart a question came back, “Who sits on the throne of your heart?” I laughed as I answered, “I sit on the throne to my heart, not Satan!” Again I was struck with an intensity at what came to my heart next, “Whoever sits on MY THRONE is MY ENEMY!” At that moment, I confessed that I was God’s enemy. I crawled off the throne of my heart and relinquished it to God. I have had to crawl off the throne many times since then, but I am no longer an enemy of God.

Anyone who desires to be the master of their own life is God’s enemy. With this definition, we begin to see the problem in our world. There are “many” who are God’s enemies (see Philippians 3:18-19).

Paul tells the Philippians that these enemies of God are on a path to destruction, they are slaves to their own flesh, call evil good and value temporary things. You would think Paul was writing today describing so many people in our culture.

Anyone who desires to be the master of their own life is God’s enemy.

But there is Good News! God wants to raise your spiritual standard of living by producing joy in your life.

Joy is not something we attain. Joy is something God produces in our hearts. That is why James can say, “Consider it all joy my brothers when you face trails of all kinds.” Happiness is based on our circumstances. Joy is based on our citizenship. We can have joy even when a loved one dies, but we are not happy! The power of the resurrection produces joy.

Let me give you three challenges to help you live up to your heaven citizenship:

  1. Be Coachable. God wants to raise your spiritual standard of living. To do so, you have to follow Jesus. Let Jesus teach you His way to live. It begins with a relationship with Jesus. If you are not a follower of Jesus. Begin there! If you are already a follower of Jesus, what does God want to teach you about being a citizen of heaven?
  2. Think Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is restoring Christ’s reign on earth. When be mindful that you travel on the path to heaven. Use God’s word as a light for this path. Love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with God. Keep the core of scripture in front of you at all times: Love God and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. And finally, set your mind on eternal things (sneak peak Philippians 4:8).
  3. Live by Faith. Living by faith is not living by sight. We have to “be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Living by faith is not living by fear. Faith is risk. It is not just believing in God. The demons believe in Jesus and they shudder (James 2:19). Living Up to your heaven citizenship requires risking everything that seems true on earth for what is true in heaven!

Joy is based on our citizenship.

God wants to raise your spiritual standard of living. Will you live up to your citizenship in heaven?

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