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Christ’s Kingdom is being impressed upon our souls

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27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

 

Citizenship. Quite an important thing wouldn’t you say? Citizens represent their country, but military personnel especially do – and even more so when they wear their nation’s uniform. When someone puts on their military uniform, he or she must live in a way consistent with everything it stands for. Everything! Or perhaps suffer death.

As you may know, Philippi was a Roman colony and military outpost filled with important and influential people – many of whom were active members or retirees of the powerful Roman army. The entire town was saturated with Roman military life, and to encounter a Roman citizen or soldier was a virtual encounter with the Roman state and it’s emperor.

Like Paul, some citizens had dual citizenship. During this time, a number of soldiers were originally from Gaul (modern France). Their permanent residence remained in their homeland, but they actively resided, worked, and fought as Romans. These soldiers, although from another country with a radically different culture, they chose to put that behind them and press on toward becoming fully Roman – speaking the language and adopting the culture to think like a Roman and behave in a manner worthy of the empire’s high standards. Even more, these soldiers pledged complete allegiance to their Lord, Caesar.

Read the passage again. Can you see the analogies? Paul speaks to Christians who have dual citizenship. We’ve been ripped out of the old world and inserted into a new kingdom. We now have a new citizenship with a strong allegiance to the most superior Emperor, Jesus. He is Lord and in him, we can press into a new realm while Christ’s Kingdom is being impressed upon our souls. We can choose to learn Kingdom language, adopt its culture, think like Jesus, put on the uniform of Christ (Col. 3:1-10) and conduct our lives consistent with our new identity and the power and authority of our reigning King. Today, consider your dual citizenship – living in the kingdom of this world but living for the kingdom of God. Identify one quality of Jesus’ Kingdom you can focus on living for today (i.e. love an enemy, pray for those who hurt you, rejoice in suffering, lend a helping hand to someone in need, etc.)[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Don Owsley

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