I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom. Forget the USA (okay, not really, but temporarily). I’m a permanent resident in the house of the Lord. Living as a citizen of the USA can be pretty easy. I attend school each weekday, return home to watch some TV, catch up with some friends, do a little homework, and then repeat it the next day. My Monday through Friday life is seemingly consistent. My weekends get shaken up a little with a few babysitting gigs here or there and maybe I get to sleep in on some Saturdays. Being a citizen of America requires little to no work for me. I don’t have to change anything about myself or my routine. I can do basically whatever I want when I want. I am independent and self-sufficient.
Often, I forget that I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom as well. It’s like a dual citizenship deal – where I can be part of both! I think I put this thought aside because being a citizen of God’s Kingdom requires a lot more effort. A member of God’s Kingdom stereotypically attends church pretty regularly, has a strong spiritual life, prays often, and says all the right things. I believed these stereotypes, assumed they were unattainable, and forgot about it. I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom, but in reality I feel as if I don’t deserve it. (Remember those old Lysol fact commercials? Be prepared for a flashback)
FACT: There is no mold that God’s Kingdom citizens need to fit into.
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
All of the things I thought I had to be or do to be a GOOD citizen of God’s Kingdom were all for show. Our theme for Convention 2013 is Citizens of God’s Kingdom: Healed in Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a future.’” We have a hope for better things to come and we can spread that hope, that everlasting joy and peace we have within us, to others! Become advocates for your kingdom! We are healed with an eternal hope that God provides when we understand what He has in store for us. I have become God’s hands and feet. I, and other citizens, become the face of God’s Kingdom. We are ambassadors for His word.
As an Ambassador for my University, one of my jobs is giving campus tours and often you can hear me saying things like, “To your left is the Campus Center, where you can eat delicious food as part of your meal plan. To the right, is the soccer field where games are played each night. 98% of our graduates find a job after graduation and 84% are placed in a field of their choice.” Being a people person, I love this job! I love telling people about things that I am passionate about. I love opening up their minds to experiences that have impacted me. I am an ambassador for my university, but I am also (and you are too!) an ambassador for God. How can I possibly give people a tour of God and the wonderful things He has done for me and is doing for me without being a cheesy tour guide spewing out statistics?
Simple. Let God shine through me, my words, and my actions.
FACT: The “That was Easy” buttons from Staples don’t actually apply to “Real Life.”
As you begin to prepare for convention, I challenge you to forget about the borders that define us as countries. Remove the ideas of skin color, race, ethnicity, and gender as separation. Put aside the reality that being a citizen of God’s Kingdom is not going to be easy. There will be obstacles and hardships. You will not always be accepted. You will be judged, critiqued, reprimanded, and punished. But the rewards are so much greater! Become one with each other and be ready to serve the one true King of all, God.
You can be a citizen of God’s Kingdom everywhere you go. No visa needed.
Alyssa Cable is a 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pa. currently in her junior year Eastern Mennonite University majoring in Elementary Education. Mennonite Church USA is a big part of Alyssa’s heart and she is so excited to be blogging about Convention. She loves writing, playing guitar and piano, and laughing.