February 21, 20116
Paul begins his letter, literally, with: Imitators together of me be brothers…. United Bible Society Choosing to follow Jesus makes us family. However, there are those who announce that they are followers, yet they act as enemies and are: destined to be lost, NJB …because, the things they think important are earthly things; NJB this world is the limit of their horizon. Phillips
If we are brothers and sisters with Jesus, then we are also citizens of Heaven, but we still live on earth. We must learn to live like ambassadors of our King. Think of Shirley Temple Black who was appointed the US ambassador to Ghana by President Ford. She, in spite of her last name, was a white face in a black nation. It would be hard to select someone more opposite of the nation she worked in.
More importantly, she was a classic American and always stayed true to that heritage. She followed all State Department instructions as she also helped the Ghanaians through years of internal conflict. That is the model we need to follow.
Jesus weeps when we fail as ambassadors in this alien land. Our problem is that we do not have the advantage Shirley Temple had of clearly being a foreigner. For us, Heaven seems the alien culture. How do we change that? We must become naturalized citizens of Heaven.
It is never easy to move to a new country and become a citizen. It requires years of study, years of absorbing the new culture and new language (what is the language of Heaven?). Once we pass the test, we have to take an oath renouncing our former citizenship and pledging our loyalty to the new county. The process is much the same for citizenship in Heaven.
Why then does Jesus weep? While the answer is complex, in this lesson the answer lies in Luke 13:22-30. When you say, “Yes, I want to follow Jesus,” picture yourself standing before two doors, one very narrow and the other wide. To follow Jesus, we must enter the narrow door and remain on that narrow path.
To be an ambassador for Jesus is not easy. There is great risk. The world does not like what Jesus stands for. Yet, we have been charged to stand firm in his ways. When we do, we can expect: He will re-make these wretched bodies of ours to resemble his own glorious body, by that power of his which makes him the master of everything that is. Phillips
Be righteous and do good.