Last week my wife officially became a citizen of the United States of America!
The moment of her swearing in was an amazing, surreal, and emotional moment for both of us.
Having originally possessed citizenship from Bermuda, she has been a legal resident of the U.S., as my wife, for the past 23 years. She has wanted to pursue this for a while but cost, the paperwork involved, and the “dreaded test” (which turned out to be not so dreadful) held her/us back for all these years.
I am posting a blog about this because I am so stinking proud of my wife and want to celebrate her amazing achievement with you!
In addition, I also feel compelled to share with you the Oath of Allegiance my wife, along with 57 other people from 25 different countries, took on the day of her swearing in, and to draw some comparisons with what a citizen of heaven should look like.
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure
all allegiance and fidelity
to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have
heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America
against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States
when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance
under the civilian direction when required by the law;
and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
so help me God.”
The High Privilege of U.S Citizenship
We who live and work in the United States of America are truly a blessed people! I wonder how often we take this for granted and forget to thank our gracious God for this privilege, and we forget to pray for our leaders as often as we should?
One of the 58 who took the oath above was from Ethiopia. He has been serving Ethiopian refugees while living in Greely, CO for some time, helping to meet their needs, and aiding them to become citizens while working toward the same himself.
He was asked to give a brief testimony. As he approached the podium it was more than noticeable that he had lived a rough life. Half of his lower right jaw and face were missing. Yet he gleamed with joy and a sense of pride as he relayed what it meant for him to now be a citizen of the U.S.
The High Calling of U.S. Citizenship
One of the common threads woven throughout the entire ceremony, from the testimonials to the oath of allegiance, including the president’s pre-recorded video address to these new citizens, was this theme and challenge: with great privilege comes great responsibility.
The High Calling and Privileged Responsibility of Being a Citizen of Heaven
Even greater than being a citizen of the United States, is being a citizen of heaven through having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The beauty of this citizenship is that it is available to all nations, regardless of race, political affiliations, academic prowess, or economic status.
It comes with the promise of blessing: possessing every spiritual blessing from the heavenly realms in Christ; having power for everything we need for life, and being guaranteed of eternal life to come (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3-4). With great privilege comes great responsibility.
5 Responsibilities of Being a Committed Citizen of Heaven:
What are some of these responsibilities? If the previous oath is designed to describe what a citizen of the U.S. should look like, here is a brief checklist of what a citizen of heaven should look like in comparison:
1. One who is yielded 100% to the person and purposes of Christ.
In essence, this means that you and I have no unalienable rights to cling to. We don’t own anything, but out of love and gratitude we choose to steward His time, His talents, His business, His ministry, and the gifts of life, such as family, for His glory.
2. One who supports and defends the constitution: The Word of God
Translation? A citizen of heaven spends time in the Bible, knows it, lives it, and lovingly shares its principles with others; knowing this is the key to finding a truly satisfying life in Christ.
3. One who wages war on behalf of the kingdom of God.
We don’t get to choose whether or not to fight in the war between good and evil. But, we can choose to be on the winning side and arm ourselves with the weapons and armor God provides that will lead us to victory (Ephesians 6:10-18).
4. One who performs “the Work” of eternal importance.
The eternal destinies of countless souls hang in the balance, yet fewer and fewer are being faithful to lovingly and boldly share the good news of Jesus:
- that we are all sinners needing forgiveness (Romans 3:23)
- that Jesus loved us enough to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8, 6:23)
- that He rose again from the dead to prove He was God and secure our victory over sin, the devil, and death (Colossians 1:20-23; 2:13-15)
- that all can receive His forgiveness and be assured of eternal life by simply receiving His gift through belief (Ephesians 2:8-9)
5. One who does all the above “without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
Before Going on with Your Work Day or Something Else, Consider..
1. What responsibility needs improvement?
2. What is my plan to improve?
O Lord, whether at home, at church, at work, or at play, let us never forget…
“…Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)