I am proud of my earthly citizenship. My earthly citizenship is in the United States, but these thoughts are true regardless of our nation of origin. I’m not proud in an arrogant, “we’re perfect” sort of way, but simply with the same delight of relationship one has from being a part of a larger group – family, church, community. As a Christian, I have a higher citizenship in the heavenly realm.
This dual citizenship presents certain challenges for a follower of Christ:
- My earthly citizenship must never overshadow or overrule my heavenly citizenship.
- I must be willing to surrender my rights in the earthly for the demands of the heavenly.
- If human government is in conflict with divine laws I am bound to obey God rather than man.
- My engagement with or devotion to the earthly cannot be allowed to supercede that to the heavenly.
I love my country and am unashamedly patriotic. This is not in itself mutually exclusive to the demands of my heavenly citizenship. Being a good earthly citizen is a part of being a good heavenly citizen, and being a good heavenly citizen makes me a better earthly citizen.
But if my patriotism is more evident than my faith it has become an idol. If I’m more concerned about showing honor to my nation than sharing the Gospel, I’ve misplaced priorities. If my passion for country grows to exceed my love for God or my neighbor, I have broken God’s greatest commandments.
Christians have always faced the challenges of a dual-allegiance, and their cry has been “No King but Jesus.” King Jesus still reigns over both kingdoms, and His throne is eternal.