Citizen of Heaven or Lover of the World
The Lord weaved me through these scriptures last week. I say ‘weaved’ because as the Holy Spirit would show me one thing, He would point out another scripture and then another and then another. There is nothing better than being taught by the Lord. Suddenly, what was not understood becomes understood. HE shines the light on the word and it becomes alive in us. I pray that I will be able to present these to you the way He presented them to me and that we can all grow together to become more like our Savior, Jesus.
1 John 2:15-16 NLT
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
He said not to love the world and what it offers? How do we know if we’re loving the world? What does the world offer us?
1 John 2 verse 16 tells us three things:
1. Craving for physical pleasure (lust of the flesh)
2. Craving for everything we see (lust of the eyes)
3. Pride in our achievements and possessions.
I wanted to make sure I understood these three things correctly so I looked this verse up in many translations. I will put a couple here so you can see them as well.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. NKJV
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. AMP
16 These are the ways of the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. None of these come from the Father, but all of them come from the world. NCV
Are we consumed with thoughts and actions motivated by wanting to please ourselves? Are we consistently thinking about what we are going to do to have fun or how we can get everything we see? Are we consumed with thoughts of how to gain recognition for things we’ve done or thinking of new ways to improve our resume and influence in this world. Are we thinking of everything we’ve done taking pride in our own accomplishments and our plans for the future. Have we begun to think only of things of this natural world while forgetting about the things of heaven and things that please God? Has the ground of our heart become thorny ground?
Do you remember the parable of the farmer sowing seed in Matthew 13. He sowed seed in four different types of soil. I’m reminded now of the thorny ground.
22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. Matt 13:22 NKJV
Here is what the Lord showed me. The Word is choked and produces no fruit because we become consumed by the world and what it offers. Yes, we hear the Word of God but we get distracted and overrun by the cares of the world and it chokes the Word that we hear. The cares of this world go back to the 3 things defined in 1 John 2. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life become forefront in our minds and hearts and we give no attention to the Word of God ; therefore the seed of the Word that was sown in our hearts gets overrun with the weeds of this world and we produce nothing. How many times have we heard the Word of God and make a commitment to change only to forget about it the next day when we get to work? Thorny ground.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
We are to think about the things of heaven and not the things of this earth. The Bible from cover to cover tells us about His love for people and fellowship. His concern is not with things that are here today and gone tomorrow. His concern is about us. His living masterpieces. (Ephesians 2:10) He desires for us to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. We are to be seeking Him and His righteousness above all else.
Philippians 3:18-20 NLT
18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
The Bible says there are those who call themselves Christians but their behavior shows them to be Gods enemy. He says their god is their appetite. Sounds a lot like the three things mentioned in 1 John 2. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are the offerings on the worlds menu. Are we ordering?
As I read this, I thought ok Lord how do I live in the world without being of the world. How can I not be consumed about things of the world? I have family, obligations, responsibilities…Can we really put this in practice everyday of our lives? The answer is in the rest of the scripture.
WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. Yes, we do live on planet earth BUT we are here temporarily. We are foreigners here. Our real home is in heaven. How often do we remember that? How many days, months or years pass without us even thinking about our future home? Have we got so caught up in this world that we have forgotten where our real home is? Are we remembering and waiting for the day when Christ will return?
1 Peter 2:11
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
Worldly desires will wage war against us and try to distract us from our true destination. We need to remember who we are and where our home really is. We need to put on all of God’s armor.
Ephesians 6: 10-18
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Seeking God in prayer and in His word need to be a priority above everything else. We are citizens of heaven NOW and we look forward to a city God has prepared for us. In the meantime, we live as foreigners on earth but conduct ourselves as citizens of heaven.
Phil 1:27 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
Does the world feel too comfortable? Are we more comfortable in the world than thinking and being prepared for our home in Heaven. Do we remember we are just foreigners here on earth or have we established our citizenship?