In February, a survivalist group announced plans to build a “Citadel” in Idaho dedicated to gun rights, where every citizen of the walled city would own a gun and be prepared to use it, and the compound would include a firearms factory to make sure the fort is well stocked to defend against the government. These secessionists consider themselves patriots.
Regardless how you feel about their political positions, can anyone who completely turns against their country and abandons it, benefiting from its protection, yet contributing little or nothing to it except what’s required be considered a patriot? The word that comes to my mind is “parasite”.
Yet these attitudes are prevalent in the church. Do any of these describe you at times?
- Island Nation: My faith is between me and God and nobody else’s business, and nobody has the right to judge me.
- Resource Sponge: You see the church as a vendor of religious goods and services. If it’s not giving you what you want, you go elsewhere or pout and complain, but you’re not willing to get involved in serving others.
- Unhelpful Critic: You like things the way they used to be and complain about change, even if the old way of doing things wasn’t seeking and saving the lost. Like the resource sponge, you spend much more time complaining than serving.
We must never forget our citizenship in the kingdom of God and what that means. To do otherwise is to attempt to usurp his kingdom. The Lordship of Jesus runs contrary to conventional wisdom, but we see our citizenship in the way that he established his kingdom — through personal sacrifice on behalf of others. For Jesus, it meant going to the cross on our behalf to pay for our sin and reconcile us to God. For us, it means submitting to Jesus as Lord and King through personal sacrifice on behalf of others. It means that we will not try to rule over our lives and claim our rights except the forgiveness of Christ. It means that like Jesus, we will set ourselves aside, trusting him to provide for our needs and being the means by which he provides for the needs of others.