This morning we had our weekly MVP (Men Value Prayer) breakfast at church.
There is much talk today in our nation about illegal aliens, border patrols, and immigration enforcement. Soon, many people in the United States of America may have to prove, when asked, that they are a legal citizen or visitor in the “kingdom” of the United States.
What about the Kingdom of God? During the course of our Bible study, we discussed the issue of being a member of God’s Kingdom and a legitimate disciple of Christ. What’s the proof…how do you know for sure? Certainly a list of things that demonstrate genuine proof of citizenship could be many. We talked about one such “proof”.
Our Bible reading for today was John 13:33-35:
“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:33-35 (NKJV)
When Jesus spoke these words, He knew that within the near hours and weeks, He will have given His life for our sins, risen, and ascended back to His Father. It is a critical time of instruction for His disciples and so this “new commandment” carries a lot of weight and is packed with meaning. The Kingdom of God does not have physical borders to fence-in and identify the children of God. There are not any visas or green cards to prove that we belong to Him. The Bible says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
For many people, they might list as proof of Kingdom citizenship some of the following: church membership, baptism, charitable giving, church attendance, interest in the Bible, an attempt to live a good upstanding moral life, etc. All of these things are worthy markers of a true citizen of God’s Kingdom, yet there is one thing that trumps them all according to Christ. Do you HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER? Can others see this love and know that you belong to a different world?
Today, I want to challenge you. Without a doubt, each one of us will face a situation where the “unlovable” people of this world will tempt us to act or respond in a worldly, ungodly fashion. When this happens, show them your citizenship. Don’t insist on your “rights”…but love them like Christ loves them. Why? Because you are a citizen of God’s Kingdom…represent Jesus well!