GOOD CITIZENS

Freedom is a wonderful thing.  As citizens of a country we have responsibilities that we desperately need to fulfill.  From a countries point of view the responsibility of the citizen is to pay our taxes and stay out of trouble.  Most countries had rather there not be too many of its citizens that want to get involved in daily activities of the country.  The more one is involved and stays informed about what is going on the more difficult they can be to lead.

In I Peter 2:11-12 Peter said, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”  Instead of Christians trying hard to fit in all the time we are challenged to live as aliens and strangers on the earth.  Our primay job isn’t voting, but it is behaving excellently.  The truth is we can easily vote one way while behavior runs completely counter to what we have said.

What is the behavior that God regards as excellent among those who follow him?  First, excellent behavior involves abstaining from “fleshly lusts”.  When John the apostle warned us not to love the world or the things in the world he said that all that is in the world, “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the vainglory of life.  These are of the world and the world passes away with the lusts thereof.”  As a Christian instead of living by our lusts and passions we should give clear thought to what we believe and do.  Everything about the worldly life centers around lust and selfishness.  If we abstain from fleshly lust we won’t live like animals with no sense of right and wrong.  When we live by our lusts we lose the war for our soul and allow Satan to become the leader on the throne of our heart.

Second excellent behavior will lead to our abstaining from doing evil and instead being a “gooddoer”.  Good thoughts and good ideas that never lead to good deeds are useless.  Jesus said we allowed our light to so shine that people would glorify God was through our good deeds (Matthew 5:13-16).  Paul challenged us to not become tired in doing good for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).  “As we therefore have opportunity let us do good to all people especially to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).  In Ephesians 2 he said that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.  Then in verse 10 he said, “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Paul told both Timothy and Titus to tell those who are rich in this world to be ready unto every good work.  Notice the fact it wasn’t any particular good work that God said we ought to do.  He just pointed to the fact that as His followers we should be people who do good deeds of all kinds.  When the world observes followers of Christ doing good things for others in all areas of life it produces good and draws people to the Lord.

Third, when good deeds are done to the glory of the Lord it brings glory to God and not to us.  Jesus said they would see your good works and glorify the father in heaven.  If the things we do good only brings praise for us, then something is missing.  Our good deeds should always point to God and in essence declare that it was Him who led us to do the good that we are doing.

Interestingly as Peter continues this discussion he adds that we are good citizens when we submit to the human institutions and whoever is in authority, who are there to punish the evildoer and praise the one who does good.  Peter said living like this will silence foolish people who are trying to find flaws in our Christian lives all the time. 

He also said that we should act like free people, yet not use our freedom as an excuse for not doing the right thing.  Good citizens “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king.”

Should good citizens vote?  Sure we should vote, but the way we will do the most good as God’s people by how we live than by how we vote.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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