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First the Kingdom, #35, Citizens of Heaven, Part 2. “Where Do You Dwell?” Colossians 1:3-14: “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” In a previous discussion we read a statement the apostle Paul made in his letter to the church at Philippi. We learned the exciting fact from him that we believers in Christ are Citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). This is in fact a marvelous privilege. We understand that the first initial step in becoming a citizen of the kingdom of heaven is to repent of our sins, and to take on a different perspective. In this new perspective the universe is not all about me. It is all about God Who created it! From Christ we have learned that He created everything with good, loving intentions. Therefore, to understand how the universe is centered around Him is a wonderful and encouraging thought! In my personal experience, this rejection of my old ways and thoughts and my surrender to Christ was truly like a change in location! Before I was living in a world of discouragement and defeat, now I am living in a place of hope, peace and victory! My thoughts became aligned with God’s thoughts! This change is not only psychological but also spiritual. Our minds and bodies were designed from the beginning to be connected to the spiritual side of our being and to God. The further we drift from Him, the darker our thoughts become. Thankfully, Jesus Christ through His atoning sacrifice has reconciled the world unto Himself! By faith in Him we are relocated back into the land of peace, love an light! Sadly, I do not always live in that heavenly place in God. what I mean to say is that I sometimes forget to renew my thoughts in Him. The world, the flesh and the devil all conspire to bring me down to that former level of defeat and darkness. We are in a battle, and we have spiritual weapons that can help us to maintain our victory! I personally need daily fellowship with God and with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I need to meditate upon His Word, the Bible and I also need to hear it ministered to me through fellow believers. Another key is in the sharing of it with others. This opportunity I am taking right now is a joy and a blessing to me! Belief, trust, faith in the Word of God not only brings us into our initial salvation, but it also carries us forward to our ultimate victory over sin and death! The challenge is not to manufacture holiness in ourselves. The challenge is to cling to Christ against all opposition, while He works in our hearts and minds to make us holy. Have you ever considered the freedom of living under His Lordship? This means I can no longer serve fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy or frustration. I am a citizen of heaven! My king is the Lord of life, righteousness, peace, love and joy! To often people see His Lordship as restrictive and as something to be resisted. They prefer their petty attitudes, their habits and addictions over His liberating truth. Even some Christians want to debate whether or not submission to His Lordship is necessary for salvation. The fact is that God in Christ has lifted His people up. He has raised us up from our sin and death and caused us to sit in heavenly places in Him! It is not His will for us to live a mere earthly existence. The question is: Why would we not want to live in the fullness that He has for us? In these times believers all over the world are facing the temptation to sink back into the place from which He has lifted us. If we are not careful, our minds can become filled with corrupting thoughts. Hatred, anger, fear, resentment, revenge, greed, vice do not belong in the place where we dwell. Our citizenship is in heaven! We are called to freedom in Christ! Yes we are being tested to prove that we serve Christ and will not follow fallen humanity into slavery to the prince of lies. But I say this to encourage us. Jesus Christ IS the Lord of all! Hear the Word of God, the Truth that makes you free! You are not a slave to sin, fear, anxiety and darkness! You have been translated from that realm and into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Let this truth dwell in you richly and let it grow to maturity. Let His thoughts and feelings overwhelm you. Consciously choose to dwell as King David did, in the House of the Lord forever. He is your dwelling place, your sanctuary, your home.