National Rights vs. Kingdom Responsibilities

In the predawn hours, I sat at my desk and thought about the significance of the day. It was July 4th, America would be remembering and celebrating its independence. I paused for several moments and gave thanks to God for sustaining our nation. It is my belief that one of the reasons God established America, was that it would be an example of liberty and justice to other nations on the earth. I was brought up with and have always held an attitude of gratefulness that the sovereign Creator allowed me to be born an American.

As citizens of the United States of America, we have rights guaranteed by our Constitution. As Christians, we have rights or privileges, bought for us in the redemptive work of Christ. They have been provided to us by His covenant. Just as Americans enjoy rights that some in other nations do not, Christians have rights in our inheritance, that those in satan’s kingdom do not.

In both, these rights appear to us like a double-edged sword. A sword that provides with one edge and requires with the other. Equal in our earthly and eternal citizenships, our rights require responsibility. This is not a popular mindset in our nation today. Our society has become a people that compromise easily, want everything instantly, and hold to the idea of entitlement at the cost of others. Sadly, these attitudes have begun to infect the Body of Christ.

“Well, I got a right to my own opinion!” No, we do not. We have a Lord!

“I’m free, don’t put me under bondage!” We don’t use our liberty for an occasion of our fleshly pride.

“People just need the truth!” Yes, when spoken in love!

Since the cross we now can enjoy the right of relationship. (John 1:12) With this we received the privileges of forgiveness, healing, and prosperity. Then before the Lord ascended into heaven, He gave us responsibility for this grace given in what we commonly refer to as the Great Commission. As if that were not enough, with the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, we also enjoy the privilege of correction and direction.

Having commissioned His Church with the power or authority for spreading this good news about His Kingdom. We became His personal representatives in our homes, at our jobs, and with our neighbors and friends. We carry out this commission in two ways. One is by being His witnesses, the other is as His ambassadors. Both are displayed by our actions, and our words. I want to focus on our words and how we use them. I believe that a greater revelation of the words given to the Church’s earliest Pastor, would help us in fulfilling our responsibilities that our Lord gave us. (James 3)

There came a time when the Lord began to open doors, and I became more widely known, that He had to correct me in this area. I was starting to become a little too quick in expressing my thoughts and opinions. In my zeal, I was neglecting to add Godly wisdom. I held opinions like cartridges in leather loops of a gun belt from the old west. I began to have an opinion for much, but knowledge in little. And with social media it became easy to chime in with a post or comment.

Thankfully the Lord got a hold of me and brought me back. With a few words spoken to me in my heart, and one godly brother, I received correction. I realized that for my words to be effective, I would have to be more selective. That if I did not know all the details about a situation, then I did not have a right to say anything. I reminded myself of the filters I had taught my children. Is it true? Is it necessary? Does it edify? This freed me from always trying to answer every question and focus on what I had been called to do.

Being a witness. I like television courtroom dramas. While they can be entertaining, they can sometimes be very far off from what happens in a real courtroom. What I like the most, whether fake or real, is the process of the witnesses being questioned. Witnesses tell what they know, what they saw, or heard. Witnesses tell the truth or are supposed to. Witnesses do not go off into conjecture or conspiracy. Witnesses do not have to prove anything.

Another responsibility that has been given to us by our Lord is to be His ambassadors.  Having been to foreign nations and visited our embassies, and in a couple, instances interacted with our appointed ambassadors, it is easy for me to understand what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired Paul to write to us of this responsibility as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I believe if we look at how our ambassadors in the natural carry themselves, we can see some wisdom and similarities for us a Christ’s ambassadors.

The first and obvious is that an ambassador is a representative that is sent. He or she carries out what their authority wants, not their own agenda. Next their conduct should be beyond reproach, and not in a way that would bring embarrassment to their home country. They conduct themselves with grace and excellence. Just as it wouldn’t be wise for our President to send a foolish person as a diplomat (Prov. 26:6), so as Christ’s ambassadors we need not act like knuckleheads in the world. (Philippians 1:27, Colossians 4:5, 1 Peter 2:12)

Here the comparison between worldly ambassadors and Kingdom ambassadors begins to break down. But in the same way our actions as a nation have affected our relationship to foreign nations, some of us as Christians have failed to be the example that Paul instructed Timothy, and us, to be. (1 Timothy 4:12) We should live as examples of a higher standard of justice, righteousness, and peace. We should be nonconformist. To the ungodly culture of this world, our behavior should go crossways or transcend their base patterns and pursuits. To this world, we ain’t on the same page, we ain’t even in the same book.

Since the beginning of the Church, Christians throughout history have accepted the Lord’s call to be His representatives. It would serve us, the Body of Christ in America, to do away with our democratic mindset. We are in His Kingdom, and He is Lord!