Citizenship and Discipleship

Written by Dr. Frank Anderson

The 2016 presidential election was the fifteenth presidential election of my lifetime and I remember significant details related to each of those elections, except the first two of my life (1960 and 1964).  As part of my love for America and our wonderful experiment with democracy, I have always looked forward to presidential elections as the major parties put forth their best candidates, the nominees debate the issues, the populace votes, we accept the winner, and we forge ahead with new hope for a greater America.

The 2016 presidential election cycle stands, though, as the most disturbing and challenging election of my lifetime. For us as Americans, this election highlighted obvious divisions, ideological tensions, issues of inequality, economic uncertainty, major geopolitical shifts, and terrorist concerns in our nation.  I have always been concerned about the future of my country; but never like now.  I feel so challenged where my American citizenship is concerned.

As Americans who have life in Christ, however, the state of our nation poses a greater challenge: we must make sure that we do not lose sight of our Lord’s commands concerning discipleship!

In fact, the state of our nation only highlights the significance of discipleship.  As our nation and our world continue (as Tony Evans recently said) “to push God to the periphery,” following Christ is what will sustain us; and as the world is as “pre-Christian” as it was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, our living out The Great Commandment, being obedient to The Great Commission, and helping new believers walk with Christ are as important as ever.

To stay focused, however, we need perspective and the Apostle Paul provided a measure of that perspective when he wrote: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 3:1, NIV)  Paul was reminding us that our citizenship is with Christ, in heaven.  If we remember—from our hearts—the place of our true and eternal citizenship, our nation’s challenges will make for a great discipleship moment in America.

As citizens of the Kingdom, this is our time!