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Earth and Heaven

by James N. Watkins

Posted: October 2, 2020

What it means to me to be a citizen of both…



nytimes.com

I keep hearing—often from Christians—that wearing masks and socially distancing during this global pandemic are infringements on freedom. “Civil rights are being trampled.”

May I gently suggest Christians have no freedom, except from sin:

The problem with American Christianity is that when the cross gets wrapped up in the flag, it becomes more American than Christian. For instance,

America is all about freedom; Christianity is all about servitude:

But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God (Romans 6:22a).*

Don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13b-14).

For even [Christ] came not to be served but to serve others . . . (Mark 10:45).

American is all about individual rights; Christian is all about community responsibility:

If one part [of the church] suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:24).

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had (Acts ;4:32).

America is all about the “pursuit of happiness;” Christianity is all about talking up one’s cross:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

[Paul and Silas] strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5).

The United States Constitution may not support a national mandate to wear masks. Some churches are defying court orders not to gather in large groups, citing the Bill of Rights. And as the photo above makes clear**, there are many who say, “I am going to do what I want to do, regardless of how it affects others.”

Make no mistake! I am grateful to live in America. But I am a citizen of a higher kingdom. It supersedes U.S. and international law. It demands that I serve others and do what’s best for them rather than what pleases me, and teaches that my happiness is not the most important thing in life as I live for Christ.

I’ll leave the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of COVID-19 restrictions, but I will try to follow Christ’s law of love the best I can. I hope if you’re a believer, you will too.

Copyright © 2020 James N. Watkins

Your thoughts? If you agree, please share this on your social media. Thanks!


* Links to Bible references will take you to BibleGateway.com, using the New Living Translation. From there you can expand the context, change versions, listen to audio, and discover additional resources.

** We used a different photo than Jim did, but the meaning it conveys is similar.



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Jim Watkins is a humorist, author, and speaker who says of himself that he "loves God, his family, writing, speaking and Chinese food—in that order"

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Posted: October 2, 2020

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