Our Identity as a Citizen of Heaven

Today’s Bible Journaling takes us to Ephesians 2:19-20, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners; but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” (KJV) With all the craziness going on right now, it is good for us to remember that this is not our home, we are just travelers going through on the way to our Home. Those who call Jesus their Lord, Savior, and Master have no need for fear in troubled times. Our citizenship is not here, it is in Heaven.

Does that mean we have to wait to experience the benefits of that citizenship? No, as Believers, we already are experiencing some of the advantages of being a citizen of Heaven. As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that one of those benefits was the peace I have in the middle of storms. I don’t have to be fearful of what happens to me here on earth. I know that whatever happens, my life is not over, I will live forever in a beautiful place where there is no pain, sickness, or sadness, where there is peace. I will be home!

As attached as we become to this earth, we need to remember that we are only sojourners. We are travelers on a long trip, and we are on our way home. My husband and I just had a three-week vacation recently, and we really had a great time! Were there difficulties? Yes, bad weather and long hours driving, but we did not become overwhelmed by those troubles. We were able to enjoy our vacation despite bad weather and being tired from driving far distances. When we were headed home, we were looking forward to being home, even though we were thoroughly enjoying our time away. We had peace in the face of the hardships, and yet we were anxious to get home.

As Believers, we also look forward to going to our Heavenly Home, whether that be in death or by way of the Rapture. And yet, we can still reap the benefits of Heaven right here on earth. I have already mentioned peace. Other rewards include knowing that we do not walk alone, God is always with us. He promises to “never leave or forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5) He walks this journey with us. We are part of God’s family (John 1:12) and as such, we reap the benefits given to a family. We can experience His incredible love for us and the rewards and blessings He showers upon us. We don’t have to wait to experience those things, we can have them now.

As a citizen of Heaven, I can experience God’s protection. In 2 Samuel 22:3 we read, “The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; thou savest me from violence.” (KJV) I don’t need to fear sickness, danger, or attacks from the enemy, God is my shield, my refuge, my fortress! That is a benefit of Heaven I can have right now.

Another benefit of Heaven we can experience now is freedom. We live under the law of Grace; we do not need to be burdened by trying to live up to a set of laws that are impossible to keep. Because of our love for Him we willingly live a life of holiness in obedience to His will for us. How awesome to be able to bask in the light of Heaven’s blessings as a citizen! In uncertain times we can rest in the knowledge that our future is secured. We can thrive in our identity as a citizen of Heaven and live a life of peace, joy, and security in our Father’s arms.

Our Identity – We Lack No Good Thing

Today as we continue in our study on our identity in Christ, we are reminded in today’s verse that God will not withhold any good thing. Psalm 34:10 says, “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” (NASB) As I was looking at this verse and thinking of the significance of this verse, my mind did not go toward material things like money or our “wants”, I went immediately to thinking about the current frenzy over the coronavirus. We have seen so many in the news who are drowning in fear over this disease.

The Word says God will not allow us to be lacking in any good thing…and that includes our health. God loves us with an everlasting love, (Jeremiah 31:3) and His plans for us are good plans. (Jeremiah 29:11) In today’s verse, it tells us that if we seek God, we will have everything we need. Not necessarily everything we want, but what we NEED! That includes wealth, health, people who love us and want the best for us, and if we have asked Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, He gives us eternal life. All of these are good things that we will not lack.

Instead of being covered in fear, we need to look to Jesus! God also tells us that He does not give us the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (KJV) That’s another good thing that we will not be lacking. That sound mind includes looking at things like this current pandemic with common sense. Instead of heading to the stores and buying up every last bottle of hand sanitizer or roll of toilet paper, use common sense…what would you do for a common case of the flu? God gave us a mind and He expects us to use it and expects us to use the common sense He has given us.

We also know that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are covered by His blood. I Peter 2:24 says, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (NASB) We also know that God has promised protection over us. Psalm 91:10 says, “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.” (NASB) A prime example of God’s protection goes back to the Exodus of the Israelite people from Egypt. (Exodus 12) Those who placed the blood over the doorposts were saved from the calamity God brought to the Egyptian people. The death angel passed over the homes that had the blood on the doorposts. If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we are covered by His blood.

When we realize that God has everything in control, and this crisis comes as no surprise to Him, and He loves us, we have nothing to fear. He will not withhold any good thing! His love for us is far greater than we can ever imagine.

The Bible tells us not to fear 365 times! That is one verse for every day of the year! Matthew 6:34 tells us not to worry, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NASB) Remember, God does not give us the spirit of fear! Trust that He knows all about what is going on in your life and that He has only good things planned for you! Your identity in Christ? YOU WILL LACK NO GOOD THING!

Our Identity – Debt Free

Today we are looking at Colossians 2:13 – 14, “And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.” (CSB) As we continue to look at our identity in Christ, I find it amazing that we are debt-free because of Jesus! Jesus paid the penalty for our sins! He looked at us with love and told the Father, “I’ll pay for it!”

Being debt-free is an amazing feeling. A few years ago, I experienced that when we were able to pay off the mortgage on our house because of an inheritance I received when my mother passed away! Having no house payments is awesome! I also have a car that is fully paid for…how cool is that? It’s nice not to have bills looming over our heads. It gives me a feeling of freedom!

Those of us who have asked Jesus to be our Lord and Master and accepted Him as our Savior, have that same feeling! We are debt-free! We owed a debt of sin that we could never pay, but Jesus stepped up and took our place and paid that debt. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV) Every person who has ever been born, or ever will be born, has been born into sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV) That means we are debt-free! We no longer have the penalty of death hanging over our heads.

Our sin separated us from God. But God loved us so much that He made a way to make a bridge between us and Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) Sometimes it is hard for me to understand that kind of love. Jesus gave up everything to come to earth and live a sinless life so that He could be the sacrifice for our sins. God poured out His grace upon us so that He could have a relationship with us. He loves us that much!

Jesus invites us to ask Him to take up residence in our hearts. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KJV) He wants a relationship with us, and as we discovered in our last post, He wants to be our friend.

There is a song that we haven’t sung in our church for a long time that expresses how much we owe Him. The lyrics say, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to take my sins away. And now I sing a brand-new song, Amazing Grace! Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay!” Our identity is in Jesus paying the price for us, and we are debt-free!

He Calls Me Friend

For the last almost two weeks I have been down with the flu. It’s been rough, still have this horrible cough, but I feel better. It’s put me out of commission, and I haven’t been able to get to church or be on the Worship Team because of it. What has been nice is hearing from church friends who have inquired on how I was doing, saying they missed me and were hoping to see me soon. I have been one who hasn’t had a lot of close friends, in fact, I have only one best friend besides my sister, and she’s been a friend since we were kids. I have never seemed to be able to be the popular one who had a lot of friends gathered around. In today’s Bible Journaling, we find out that we have One who is our Friend, and He never leaves us. In John 15:15 we read, “I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.” (CSB)

As I was working on my Bible Journaling page, I thought back over the friendship I have with my best friend. We have done some neat and some silly things in the past. Once we both got married, we kind of lost touch with each other, but every time we got together, it was like we had never been apart. We just picked up where we left off. When she came to visit me when I lived in Montana, I remember being so excited that she was coming, and when she showed up at my work, I jumped up from my desk and threw my arms around her and gave her a big hug, and tears came to her eyes. I was a little surprised I guess, but I felt the same way. It had been so long since I had seen her, I was just over the top with excitement. Last year we went to Wisconsin and visited her and her hubby, and we had a blast! That friendship has lasted for 60 years and is still so special.

It is so awesome having a close friend like that. They know you inside and out and accept you with all your frailty, bumps, bruises, and missteps. Did you know, Jesus is just like that? Proverbs 18:24 tells us that God is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He never leaves or forsakes, (Hebrews 13:5), He puts us in His inner circle! We matter to Him! Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” (NIV)

I love how He listens to me, no matter if I’m complaining about circumstances, or if I’m singing to the top of my lungs! He cries over my hurts, He rejoices over my victories, He guides me when I go astray, He holds me accountable when I mess up, He doesn’t judge, and still, through it all, He loves me and calls me “Friend.” He never fails, He doesn’t desert me when I’m going through a rough road, He wraps me up in His arms and comforts me when life is just too much. These are the marks of a true friend.

For those who don’t know what it is like to have Jesus as their friend, it’s very simple. Jesus is calling us to friendship. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KJV) When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts, forgive us of our sins, and accept His free gift of salvation, we become a friend of His. He comes to live inside of us to be our Lord, Master, Savior, and Friend! We then begin a life journey with our Best Friend. I often have said that since becoming a Believer, life has been an adventure! Jesus has taken me places I never dreamed I would be. He always has the best in mind for me, and if you ask Him to, He will forgive you of your sins, make you one of His, be your Best Friend, and show you His best for you.

Do You Know Your Identity?

We are beginning a new series on our identity and thriving in that identity. Who are we? Today’s Bible Journaling Scripture is I Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (NASB) Today, I had a very difficult time doing my Bible Journaling page. It took me three times before I got it right. As I was beginning to get frustrated, the thought came into my head, “Satan doesn’t want this to get out.” I immediately told Satan, “Ok, Satan, leave me alone. I’m going to do this journal whether you like it or not. Go away!” That’s when it began to come together.

Did you know we can do that? As a Born-Again Believer, we can tell Satan to take a hike! That’s part of our identity. Most of the time when someone asks us who we are we say things like, “Oh, I’m a wife, mother, daughter, and I like to do…” But that isn’t who we truly are. If we have asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we are saved, redeemed, loved, we are a child of the One and Only God, who is our Father and the King of all Kings. We have been given authority over the enemy that allows us to tell him to leave us alone when he comes to trip us up or cause us pain.

The Bible tells us who we are. Deuteronomy 7:6 says, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (NASB) I love that it tells us that we have been chosen! That’s who we are…CHOSEN! We are chosen because God loves us. 1 John 3:16 says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (NASB) That’s also part of our identity. We are LOVED!

We are also SAVED and REDEEMED. Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross. His blood wiped away all our sins past, present, and future. We are clean before God. We are made ACCEPTABLE in God’s eyes. Ezekiel 20:40 says, “For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts along with all your holy sacrifices.” (NIV) Israel was God’s chosen people, just as Born-Again Believers are, and He accepted them as His own, just as He accepts us when we come to know Jesus as our Savior.

Our identity is in who God says we are. He calls us loved, He calls us redeemed, He calls us chosen, He calls us accepted, and He calls us BEAUTIFUL. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7 NIV) God looks at our hearts, not on the outer appearance. I think that’s where a lot of us get tripped up. We look at the outside of ourselves, and if you’re anything like me, we tend to not like what is looking back at us in the mirror. But God sees us as beautiful. He created us just as we are, and what He creates is good.

Today, as we think about our identity in Christ, we need to take a few minutes and contemplate who we are and make a list of how we are identified in the light of who God says we are. Maybe you don’t see yourself as God sees you. I want you to know that you are precious to Him, He loves you, and He sees you as a precious son or daughter of His. Study His Word to find your identity in Jesus, and you will come away with a totally different perspective.