Art Harju | The Voice of Zion August 2022 --
Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 3:20
The Bible gives instruction on how we ought to conduct ourselves as citizens of God’s kingdom. It teaches us to honor our father and mother, to serve our neighbor and not bear false witness against him, to respect and obey our governments and those having authority over us, and to live peaceably with all men. The King James Version of the Bible often uses the word conversation to mean our conduct or our way of life.
Citizens of Heaven
Our theme verse from Philippians states “for our conversation (our citizenship) is in heaven.” Earth is only temporary. Our time of life passes quickly. “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). While there are times of happiness and joy in our lives there are also times of trials and sorrow. These trials and sorrows cause us to long for our heavenly home.
What instruction does God’s Word give about the conduct of a citizen of heaven? Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In that sermon He teaches what to do if there is anger between us and our brother. He teaches about proper behavior around the matters of adultery and divorce. Jesus instructs to be quick to make amends with our accusers before the matter becomes too big and not to seek revenge against those who offend us but rather turn the other cheek. We should be willing to go the extra mile with those who ask for help and share our goods with those in need. Also, we love our enemies, repay hate and evil with good, and pray for those who take advantage of or persecute us.
All Glory to God
Jesus warns about doing our good works in order to be seen of men. We want to conduct ourselves and serve others from a humble and sincere heart for their benefit, not our own. Peter writes in his epistle, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12). Peter’s words here remind us that we don’t know what God may be working in the heart of any person. Maybe He has given them a time of visitation. Surely an awakened conscience and a seeking heart would answer to the love and kindness shown to them by a child of God.
We want to conduct ourselves in such a way that the gospel message of God’s kingdom could be spread to our neighbors and those in our community so that they too could find forgiveness and the hope for citizenship in heaven. We often find ourselves lacking and poor in speaking to others about God’s kingdom, but we pray that light also shines through our example.
Dear child of God, how has it been? If you are like me, you have found yourself unsuccessful in the matters of conduct. Fortunately, our God is a forgiving God and those failings and all sin can be washed away in the name and blood of Jesus. We can daily renew those promises to endeavor to be a good citizen of heaven.