You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in
a court of law. Ever heard that before? Hopefully, only in the movies right? Well, those are your Miranda Rights courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. Good to know, right? I don’t know about you, but if I do something that could get me in legal trouble and a cop asks me about it, I think I’ll opt to keep my mouth shut because that’s my right (DISCLAIMER – I am not encouraging criminal activity. We should obey the law of the land. But if you do engage in a piece of stupid, you might want to keep your mouth shut and get a good lawyer. Have you ever seen the show World’s Dumbest Criminals? If so, enough said.)
At church the other night, we were talking about the Apostle Paul’s incredible story. How Paul was a Jew but also a Roman citizen and the significance of that (see Acts 21:26-22:29), which honestly I had never really pondered. What would being a Jewish Roman citizen really matter? Well, come to find out, it mattered very much legally. Apparently Roman citizens had certain rights, privileges and protections that others did not have. So when Paul was being bound by the soldiers to be whipped he said “is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?” (Acts 22:25 NLT). The soldiers withdrew and the commander became frightened because he had ordered him to be bound and whipped (v 29).
For the past couple of days, that has been replaying over and over in my mind like a CD on auto replay. It was not necessarily the significance of Paul being a Roman Citizen. It was that he knew his rights and most importantly spoke up about them putting them into action (And in lawyerly fashion I might add, doing it in the form of a question. Is it legal…LOL?) He could have just kept quite and failed to exercise his rights. But oh no. He spoke up and challenged the actions of the soldiers because he knew what was right.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if as Christians we knew what all of our rights and protections were and how to activate them both physically as citizens of our respective nations and spiritually using the authority given to us by God through Christ. I wish I did! For example, our rights in general as citizens of the United States (according to google haha) include free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to participate in politics. Then we have our spiritual citizenship which is in heaven (Phil 3:20) as we are only “temporary residents and foreigners” here (1 Peter 2:11 NLT). Having a dual citizenship, we have not only earthly secular protections but as Christians we also have the spiritual authority given to us as well as our new identity in Christ because we are the light of the world. (See Joyce Meyer’s identity in Christ outline here).
We are in the world but not of it like agents here on earth who should be working to be about our Father’s family business. We must strive to learn our rights and protections under the law and in Christ so that we can be the strongest and loudest and brightest small interest group in the United States. Can you imagine the supernatural spiritual rights, privileges and protections we must have through our heavenly citizenship? I bet they are far greater than we could ever imagine.
Let’s discover them, learn them and discern when and how to use them.
Blogging hugs to all.