The Bible teaches that we Christians are “sojourners and exiles” in this world (1 Peter 2:11). Christians have lived through the centuries and around the world under all sorts of governments, but the ultimate loyalty and identity of Christians is not defined in terms of geography or nationality but in terms of commitment to Jesus. Whether you were a Christian living under Emperor Nero in first century Rome or a Christian living under President Obama/Trump in 21st century America, you are a Christian in exile, a citizen of heaven living in a foreign world (Philippians 3:20).
That doesn’t mean we should ignore or minimize the blessing that citizenship can be. Citizenship in a civil society is a great tool to be used for God’s kingdom, but if it becomes the be-all and end-all of our identity, it becomes an idol. Or, more subtly, we can claim to be Christian but let politics consume us.
A few weeks ago I pulled out behind a pickup truck that had two bumper stickers. The one on the left contained a profanity about how tough this person thought they were. And the one on the right said: “Straight. Conservative. Christian. Gun Owner.”
Two things stood out to me. First, this person claims to be a Christian on one bumper sticker, but says very un-Christian things on another. The hypocrisy was blinding. But the other thing that stood out to me were the priorities of this driver. “Christian” came in at number three on the list, after sexual orientation and political ideology (and just before gun ownership).
Does that sound like someone who understands that they are a stranger and exile? Continue reading