As a citizen of a country, you are granted certain rights. For example, you have the right to vote, the right to work, and the right to pay taxes (even though that is a right I would gladly give up if I could). Regardless of where you live or grow up, if you belong to God, you are not just a citizen of your country, you are also a citizen of the kingdom of God.
Because many people don’t live under kingdom rule, you may not truly understand what “kingdom” means, and specifically the kingdom of God. However, because you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, there is an advantage and a responsibility that goes along with it. So let’s make sure we know what this means.
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What Is the Kingdom of God?
A kingdom is simply a territory that is ruled by a king. Therefore, the kingdom of God is territory that is ruled and controlled by God himself.
When we think of kingdoms, we often think of physical territory. But you cannot apply that ideology to the kingdom of God because it goes beyond that. In our present state, the kingdom of God is not a physical kingdom – it is a spiritual one. It is not about land or territory; it begins in the heart of a person.
God is not interested in taking physical territory. He doesn’t have to because he already owns it all. However, this is not true of a person’s heart because God does not automatically rule there. When God is looking to establish his kingdom in the earth, he does this in the hearts of men and women. He works from the inside out.
Some people mistakenly believe that God wants to take over the political system, the media, or every other worldly system to promote his agenda. What God really wants is to take over the reign in a person’s heart, because when he does that everything else will follow.
How Do You Gain Access to the Kingdom of God?
Because the kingdom of God begins in the heart, there is only one way to gain access to the kingdom. There must be a change in your heart. Here is how Jesus put it.
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’” (John 3:3).
Unless you are born again you will have no access to the kingdom of God. Remember, the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that begins when you are born again, and you surrender lordship to God in your heart. Eventually there will be a physical kingdom of God that we will see, but that will not happen until after Jesus returns and establishes his kingdom on the earth. Until then, the kingdom of God lives in your heart.
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What Does It Mean to Be a Citizen of God’s Kingdom?
There are many benefits that come from being a citizen of God’s kingdom. I want to highlight four things that mark you as a citizen of God’s kingdom.
1. As a Citizen You Are under God’s Lordship
The kingdom of God is not one that is entered into by force, but by choice. God could force you to surrender but he doesn’t. You must choose to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ. This means you willingly live your life by his commands and guide your life by the constitution of God’s kingdom, which is the Word of God.
As a kingdom citizen, you align with God’s lordship by aligning your life with what God has said in his word. When you choose to make him lord and king, then you give him the right to have the final authority over every decision and choice you make in your life. If you don’t live in this fashion, then you are not truly living under his kingdom authority.
When there is real kingdom authority, you lay aside your opinions to follow what the king desires. In other words, you don’t debate with the king, but you serve at his pleasure. What he says is what you do. But again, this is not by force, it is by choice. God is the only king that gives you the freedom to choose whether you will submit to his lordship. However, if you are going to be a citizen of his kingdom, you must choose surrender.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).
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2. As a Citizen You Are under God’s Protection
The good part of being a citizen of God’s kingdom is that you live under God’s protection.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
If you belong to him, you are safe, and no one will ever snatch you out of his hand. This means that in Christ, your position in the kingdom is secure and no one can remove you from that position. This does not mean that you won’t face hardships or pain in this life, because God has not set up his physical kingdom in the earth yet. However, you can be confident knowing that as a citizen of God’s kingdom, your salvation is safe and protected in Christ.
3. As a Citizen You Are under God’s Provision
If you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, this also means that the king is responsible for your provision. Because you are surrendered to his lordship, that means you gain access to his resources. Since you belong to him, he will use his resources to take care of you. The best part is you don’t even have to worry about it.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31-33).
As a kingdom citizen our responsibility is to surrender to his lordship. When you do, he has promised to make every provision for you.
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4. As a Citizen You Surrender to God’s Purpose
Probably one of the most important aspects of being a citizen of God’s kingdom is that you must surrender to his purpose. Here is how Jesus taught us to pray:
Surrender to God’s lordship means surrender to his will and his agenda. Undoubtedly this has become a struggle for many people because we have become confused as to what God’s agenda is. We have mixed it with our own selfish motives or other ideas that don’t come from God’s word.
If you want to know God’s agenda, you must return to the constitution, which is the Bible. While there are some very specific things God will want you to do in accomplishing his will – this is part of his specific plan for your life – there are some things that we know are part of his desire for all kingdom citizens. I could write much more on this, but let me simply give you these four parts of God’s agenda for you. Preaching. Teaching. Praying. Obeying.
Preaching is to get the message of the gospel out.
Teaching is to make disciples.
Praying is to build your relationship with the King, or Your Heavenly Father.
Obeying is to shine light and point other people to Him.
I know I could go more in depth, but generally speaking, this is what kingdom citizens should be doing. These four things are at the heart of God’s purpose and agenda in the earth. Anything else and we get sidetracked into other areas that have nothing to do with the kingdom of God.
If you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, you should be sharing the gospel, making disciples, praying and doing what God asks you to do. You do these things not because you want to accomplish your will in the earth, but because you want to accomplish God’s will in the earth, which should be the desire of every kingdom citizen.
There is one final thought I want to share with you, and by the way there are way more benefits to being part of God’s kingdom. But here is the last thought. If you are part of his kingdom, then you will inherit eternal life, because his kingdom will last forever.
When I think about it, maybe this is the greatest benefit, knowing that you will spend eternity in the presence of the King of Kings and get to enjoy the benefits of his kingdom forever. This is the ultimate reward of being a citizen of God’s kingdom, and what an awesome reward this truly is.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.