Being A Citizen of God’s Kingdom: What does it mean?
By Chea Ruei-E
As we soon celebrate 55 years of independence as a nation (though this year’s celebration will be vastly different from previous years), I am yet again reminded of how proud I am to be a Singaporean.
I vividly remember the National Day Parade I attended last year—from the display of our army’s state-of-the-art heavy armoured vehicles to the F-15SGs performing breath-taking aerial manoeuvres, and who can forget, the massive fireworks display at the end of the parade! These grand displays of might and strength not only make me proud to be a Singaporean, but also give me a sense of security; I know that my nation is well-endowed to protect me at any instance.
As I think about the strength and power of my country, I am also reminded of how valuable my citizenship is. Did you know the Singapore passport is considered to be the second most valuable passport internationally? As a Singaporean, I am granted access to over 190 countries without restrictions, and this ease of access means I am valued as a citizen of the global community.
The COVID-19 situation we’re currently facing has been a prime example. When various nations suddenly closed their national borders, leaving many people overseas stranded in foreign lands, void of the protection and care a citizen would receive, Singapore was different. We managed to repatriate many of our students and expatriates from all across the world, even from countries such as Iran and Slovenia that were quick to enter lockdown. The value of our citizenship came into play, as Singaporeans were granted priority to return home.
I claim my citizenship as a Singaporean with pride and confidence, because I know I will always be protected and valued as a citizen of the nation I call home. While I state this with utmost certainty, I must admit that there are many instances when I don’t claim my spiritual citizenship with such fervour. I doubt God in times of trial, wondering if He is at work, and choose to wrestle with His control over my life. As a student, there have been times I tied my value to my grades and achievements. When my grades went south, my self-worth likewise dropped. As we face this current pandemic with huge uncertainty, I also questioned God’s hand in this crisis and what good it brings—struggling to explain the purpose of such adversity.
In moments like these, I look back to God’s Word to first remind myself of what it means to be a citizen of His kingdom. I’ve recently started reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and the first two chapters gave me a poignant reminder of God’s character. He writes of God’s almighty hand in creation, from the creation of over 350,000,000,000 galaxies to the 228 distinct muscles in a caterpillar’s head. Reading those descriptions made me realise how foolish I, a being created in His likeness (Gen 1:26-27), am to question His hand in all things. I also recall the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus warns the people on the Sermon on the Mount to forgo earthly treasures and possessions, reminding them of God’s undying provision,
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
Through these reminders, I know that as a citizen of His kingdom, God will take care of me, regardless of circumstance.
My perspective also shifted as I recognised God’s omnipotence. In His supremacy, God does not need to give an account of His actions, and as the created, we ought not to question the Creator. Even when things look bleak, I should always recognise God’s control. When I look at the troubles that wreck the world we live in, I take heart in knowing that I belong to a kingdom not of this world, but one with my Heavenly Father. As Jesus was being arrested and tried, He said this,
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36)
This year, as I celebrate National Day and commemorate my citizenship as a Singaporean, I am likewise reminded of my citizenship in the kingdom above, and how much the latter outweighs the former in all aspects of strength, grandeur, and care. As much as I adore my nation, the only everlasting kingdom is Christ’s, so what else could my response be, but to submit to Him?