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Heavenly Patriotism, the Process and Cost

Augustus Henry
Inspiration from New Creation Ministry —
By Augustus Henry (PhD)

AMERICA has sold herself so effectively that if you told a homeless American, living under a bridge, that he had a better opportunity living in Europe or any other industrialized region around the world, he would still opt for living in the USA; even though that other country may provide better food assistance, better housing support and a more effective safety-net. Most Americans would rather live a horrible life in the United States than a more wholesome living anywhere else. When it comes to life in the Caribbean or other less industrialized countries, the allegiance is similar. Many of us who have found success living outside of those countries will never go back to live permanently in our native lands. In spite of that, we continue to identify as nationals of those nations even though we received citizenship in the US. Many Guyanese, Jamaicans, Saint Lucians, Haitians, and people from Latin America, will never go back permanently but will still pledge allegiance to their country of origin.  The point is people will align with country of origin no matter what. We feel that strongly about our country of birth. 

Heavenly Patriotism is fulltime.

Even so, many purported citizens of the heavenly kingdom, Christians, are yet to become die-hard patriots of that nation. O yes, we say we are Christians, but our tongues do more work than our hands. We know how to dress like Christians, how to walk like Christians; we know how to praise like Christians and sing like a Christian, but when it comes to working for the kingdom we go missing in action. Jesus said, they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

We are Christians on Saturdays, but Mondays and Tuesdays we are first Jamaicans, Latin Americans, West Indians or Just Black or White people. We are Christian on Sundays, but on Wednesday and Thursday nurses, teachers or just professionals or employees. We are Christians in church but republicans, democrats, PPP, SLP or UWP on the streets on Friday. Brothers and Sisters, He called us out of the world into his kingdom, and that is our predominant identity. And here is the problem, there are no part-time citizens of any country.

The Christian patriot agenda.

Many of us misconstrue Jesus’ purpose on earth. His message was not grace, love or even his death; it was that his kingdom had arrived. He never once emphasized his death as a message. Jesus went as far as telling his followers, “Tell no one that I am Messiah – Matt 16”. Jesus told Peter in Matthew 15, ‘thou art Peter, a Rock; upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

There is one other significate that follows in Jesus’ encounter with Peter: whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven. Essentially, establishing the church as the embassy or consulate of heaven here on earth. The people who work in the consulate of their country, in any foreign land, abide by the constitution of that country. And every consulate has an agenda from headquarters. So, what is heavens agenda to the church-consulate here on earth:

In Jesus’ inauguration speech, he addressed it: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19). If that is not your mission as a Christian, you are on the outside of the kingdom – looking in. You still need a visa!

After Jesus’ resurrection, in his first encounter with the disciples he said: Matt. 28:18 – 30: And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

It is said of the apostle Paul in the Acts 28:31: “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Headquarters agenda is preaching the arrival of the kingdom!

The Cost.

Even when we identify as heavenly patriots and with the mission of the kingdom, we sometimes hinder its vision here on earth.  Our personal intentions could become an impediment to the growth and purpose of God’s kingdom on earth.

In Matthew 16: 23-28, Jesus discussed with his disciples his impending persecution and death in Jerusalem. Peter was quick to chastise him saying “Never Lord, that will never happen to you.” Jesus replied “get thee behind me Satan. You are a hindrance to my goals and purpose. You do not have in mind the concerns of God but merely human concerns.

In the process of seeking peace and the preservation of Jesus’s life, Peter sought to discourage the saviour’s talk about dying. What Peter did not understand is that there is no crown without a cross! There is no victory without victimization. There is no citizenship without sacrifice.

Jesus said if you are to be my disciple you must take up your cross and follow me. In the tradition of Roman execution, the condemned had to carry the horizontal beam of his cross – carry it up a steep hill. He did so through a hostile crowd who was jeering and mocking him throughout the entire length of that ordeal. Sometimes, with stones and spit hurled at them in the process. And in the event that the condemned was unable to handle the weight of his cross, a willing bystander would help. The bystander had to endure the same punishment as the accused – with mocking, the spitting and stoning (Walton & Keener).  That is what the Christian is called to do, a call to self-abasement and self-sacrifice. One must be willing to die in order to follow Jesus.

Are you ready to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

Consider these questions:

– Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your closest friends?

– Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?

– Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your reputation?

– Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?

– Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?

The process of heavenly patriotism is accepting the Gospel commission of preaching God’s kingdom to all human societies. However, the cost could be your life. Are you still willing?