Did you know that Citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven is like fantasy football? When you play fantasy football, you normally draft onto your fantasy team players that are from teams that you don’t root for. All of a sudden, now that they are on your fantasy team, you start being interested in that player. You want them to do well, because when they do well, they are getting you points for your fantasy team. Previously you didn’t care a lick for that player, and maybe you didn’t like them, but now your viewpoint has changed! The same works for just about anything we spend time on. You start watching a TV show, for example, and before you know it, you’re talking about it to everyone.
So how do we live out our identity as citizens of the Kingdom? We focus on the Kingdom!
There are so many places that we could turn to in the Bible to reflect on this, but I want to read one that I haven’t blogged about before, as I think it summarizes Kingdom-living very well. Turn to 1 Thessalonians 4, and read verses 1-12. Here Paul is writing ancient Christians living in the Roman Empire. Even if they were Roman citizens, like Paul himself was, how should they live so that their identity as citizens of the Kingdom is primary?
Do you see how that passage is loaded with wonderful teaching about how to live as citizens of the Kingdom? As I said before, Paul is teaching those early Christian what it looks like to live like Jesus. I would encourage you to read it every day this week, asking God’s Spirit to speak to you about it.
Another way to live as citizens of the Kingdom is to focus on that Kingdom. Jesus talked about this. Read Matthew 6:19-34. Jesus’ point is that when our focus is on the Kingdom, it will affect our thinking.
Jesus said a great way to apply this principle is through how you use your money. When you start to pay for stuff on your own, you tend to become more interested in it. Yesterday my daughter and I went to the cell phone store so she could get a new cell phone. Not a hand-me-down this time, and a first for her: a data plan. Why? Because she recently started her first job, is earning money regularly, and can pay for her plan, which are requirements we’ve given to our kids in order for them to have a cell phone with a data plan. She also bought a screen protector and a case for the phone, because she wants to care for the investment she is making. That goes for nearly everything we care about. We steward it because we care about it. How, then, are you stewarding the God’s money? One way some churches are leading the way stewarding God’s money is by paying off medical bills for people in need. RIP Medical Debt negotiates with health companies so that every dollar donated by the churches will pay off 100 dollars in debt. What a great way to focus on the Kingdom. There are so many similar ways to do, such as giving to your church, giving to local social services agencies, and helping people in need.