by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
But our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).
Philippi is a town in Macedonia (Greece). But the people who lived there were mostly legionnaires, veterans of the Roman armies. They had Roman citizenship. Rome was their real home. And the laws of the homeland determined the behavior of these citizens in faraway Philippi.
The same thing is true for us Christians. We live in this world, but our homeland is in heaven where Christ our Lord is. Our behavior today is ruled by the laws of the city faraway.
Actually Christians have a double citizenship. They have obligations toward the earthly country, but they must obey Christ above all. God and country aren't always on the same side.
Throughout history Christians have tended to overvalue patriotism and underrate their heavenly citizenship. The church's record in blessing the guns of the nation should make us shudder and rethink our positions.
Our first obligation is to King Jesus, the ruler of the country where we hold our citizenship. And our tie to Christ's universal church ought to be stronger than our nationalism. Christians of all countries are fellow citizens in the kingdom of our Lord.
The Bible does not tell us to despise race and nation, but it does teach us to be suspicious of them. They tend to become idols.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version