“Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” ~Matthew 18:18
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Philippians 3:20
While riding on the bus the other day, I encountered a woman sitting in the front. Everyone who got on the bus had to pass her. She was dressed in a disheveled manner, and holding a cardboard sign. The sign read “Have you prayed yet today? Better hurry up; Jesus is coming. I am the Lord’s messenger.” She was also shouting at the top of her lungs to anyone who would listen, “Trouble is on the way! Stop and pray today! Jesus is waiting to hear from you, and you need to pray to Him or He won’t know you when He gets here!!”
At first glance, this woman was crazy. Rather than being drawn to Christ, people were put off by her. But quick as I was to dismiss her, I heard God’s voice in my ear. “If I called you to move in a way that made you seem crazy, in a way that the world wouldn’t understand and that defies all logic, would you do it? If I spoke to you like this, and told you to go to the street and instead of reaching to pray for people or love them in some tangible way, told you to love them enough to convict them, would you do it?”
My honest answer to God is, I’m not sure if I would. There have been so many times when I hear God’s voice in my head for just a fleeting second and not acted on it. Why? Because I’m acting as a citizen of the world. The world passes judgements, and the world has its set of norms and standards and acceptable behavior. Breaching those norms and crossing those lines make us nervous. Doing things like talking to strangers or packing up and moving to a foreign country on short notice make us nervous. So, we often don’t.
However, we are called to be citizens of Heaven. Living not for today, but for our eternity. Living not for safety in this moment, but for eternal life and rejoicing in the presence of our Savior. This life and our time here is nothing but a vapor, and yet we are so strongly ruled by the here and now, the earthly standards ingrained in us, that we sometimes forget who we’re living for.
I heard on the news the other day of a man arrested for assault. He is only 20 years old, and this was his 27th arrest. My first reaction, and I said it out loud, was “Wow, he’s either bad at planning or bad at running.” As a citizen of heaven, my first reaction should have been to pray for him to come to know God, for this to be the arrest that makes him think about his life, and turn to the One who can change it. Instead, as a citizen of the world, I’m laughing at how he’s not a very successful criminal.
It’s this mindset that needs to change. If we lived as citizens of heaven, and not citizens of the world, how different would our reactions be to things we hear and see? If we were seeing with God’s heart instead of the world’s, how different would our encounters be? If we were trusting on God’s promises and God’s revelations, how different would our times of trial and difficulty be? Where are we truly, truly living?
This got me thinking. When we engage in spiritual warfare, and battle those lions, and bind spirits who would get in the way of God’s will (whether it be demonic or the spirit of fear), we believe that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven. We are saying these things are not our portion and have no place in our eternity. And that’s great. But how many moments do we have in our lives where we react with the world’s standards? It’s so easy to do; we were raised by the world, after all. And for every one of those moments where we act according to the world and not according to heaven, are we not binding God’s will? Every one of those moments gives us a choice of heaven vs earth. Every one of those moments lets us declare residence in one place or the other. But you can’t be both, not simultaneously. So if you choose earth, even subconsciously, even for a split second, are you not binding the kingdom of heaven? And what does that do to our eternal inheritance? We are meant to be storing up treasures in heaven, not denying them.
So today readers, I implore you to take a solid look at where your residency is. Where are you a citizen? If you’re like me, your citizenship varies back and forth. I pray that we all (myself included, because I’m as much a citizen of the world as I am of heaven) allow God’s voice to take precedence in our hearts. That we would shed the fears, doubts, norms, and standards of the world, and instead allow God’s standards and God’s will to reign over us. I pray that we would open ourselves up to let God be the center focus, and that He would work in us to make us less controlled by this vapor of earth, and more mindful of our eternal and true residency. Jesus, move in us and turn our hearts and minds to your kingdom. Help us be so kingdom-minded that your voice is all we hear. Jesus, we love you so much; help us live as citizens of Your kingdom, basking forever at your feet. We worship You that You are worthy; that any trial or embarrassment here on earth is over in a second, and worth Your ultimate presence.