My hands gripped the steering wheel, as the initial shock of the impact subsided. I watched a small crowd of curious bystanders gather on the sidewalk and heard a faint hissing sound from somewhere underneath my car. I was in a foreign country and had just been T-boned.
I’d maneuvered down this narrow lane hundreds of times. In a city of over two million residents, I had routinely chosen this road — barely wide enough to accommodate my small car — as my daily route. This former rice paddy trail afforded direct access to the international school where my daughters attended. Because it was one-way, this street remained less congested than others, an important factor considering the myriads of cars tangled in knots at other intersections.
At least I wasn’t the one who had run the stop sign. I had the right of way and had been driving the speed limit. It wasn’t my fault.
Or so I assumed.
A week or so later, we got the news: although both drivers had insurance, I would be responsible for my own repairs. The reasoning? It was 50% my fault. Why? “If the foreigner had been in her home country where she belonged, this wouldn’t have happened.”
I confess I was incensed. In fact, I expended weeks of emotional energy demanding privileges that were not actually mine by law. After I reluctantly paid the damages and my anger finally subsided, I realized that mandates from my home country weren’t a given in this adopted country. Foreigners living abroad did not always have the same rights as local residents.
Over twenty years after this incident, I’ve discovered there is only one passport whose legalities transcend all nationalities. Regarding of locale, holders of this citizenship have standardized legal sanctions. (What a relief to this bullheaded Texan!) Although I am a “stranger and alien” of this world, God has given His children rights to a Kingdom from which we cannot be shaken (Hebrews 11:13; John 1:12; Hebrews 12:28).
When I lived abroad, I wanted to exercise privileges I did not possess. If my rights were so important to me then, why do I not take advantage of the heavenly benefits afforded to me now? Why do I spend so little time familiarizing myself with my Kingdom rights?
The feisty widow in Jesus’ prayer parable knew her rights. “Give me legal protection from my opponent,” she demanded (Luke 18:3). Do I know what mine are?
Explore with me just a few of our Kingdom rights as children of the Most High.
These and so many more rights are ours as we embrace our heavenly citizenship. In fact as we read through our Kingdom “constitution,” we find that “as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Why then do we squander so great a prerogative?
What rights will you claim today?
I wonder if you know how truly valuable you are? Unseen forces above and below haggle over your life.
This should come as no surprise. The evil one knows that if he keeps you unsettled, all your heavenly resources lie unrealized. His object is to keep your mind and emotions distracted away from Christ and thus unproductive.
Busyness, anxiety, and entertainments “draw us away in differing directions.” In fact, this is the very definition used for the word “worries” in the parable of the sower. “And the worries of the world…enter in and choke the Word, and it (the Word) becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Aren’t we constantly drawn away in different directions?
Like a restless bee seeking the next drop of nectar, our minds buzz from one diversion to the next. Unsettled and uneasy, we are seduced into thinking our racing thoughts are natural and reasonable. After all, we do not alight on that which is blatantly evil.
Yet, when we willingly allow our thoughts to be sidetracked, we climb onto a self-inflicted rack of torture. More deadly than we realize, we voluntarily submit our mind and emotions to satan’s diversions. Thus, positioning our emotions for fear and dislocating our focus into anxiety.
The evil one whispers that we have no choice. This frenzied and feverish pace is simply our lot in life. But “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:36)? We’ve stopped fixing our eyes on the glorious image of the Divine and settled for the false image of the world (Psalm 106:20). When we excuse our diverted lifestyle, we too have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25), for “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
Oh my precious. Although the battle still rages against your soul, “you have been bought with a great price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). The Holy exchange has been made. “He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because His life is now yours, the peace of God stands ready to protect your heart and mind with a holy, military guard from all hostile invasion (Philippians 4:5-7).
The question remains: will you believe? Will you set your mind daily on things above, not the things of this world (Colossians 3:2)? Will you take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)? Will it be done to you according to your faith or according to your doubt (Matthew 9:29)?
The choice is up to you.