“Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27a (CSB)
I once overheard a conversation while playing softball as a teen. Our left-fielder, while describing another woman, declared, “Oh she is almost so heavenly minded that she’s no earthly good!” It made me wonder, is this old saying in fact true?
It reminds me of my friend, Thida. She’s a natural-born citizen of Cambodia who relocated to the United States when she married Keith, a Michigan resident. I had the pleasure of not only attending their wedding reception, held here in the states, but later writing a recommendation letter for her when she applied for U.S. citizenship.
In order to become a citizen, Thida had to read and study to become well-versed in American history and the laws of the land. This was no easy task. After she passed the entrance exam and the committee reviewed her recommendation letters, she was ready to make it official. Her smile stretched wider than the Golden Gate Bridge when she became a full-fledged American. Even though legally she’s now a member of our country, she’s also still a natural-born citizen of Cambodia.
We Christians are very much like my friend. Though we dwell here on earth, we should be ever-cognizant of the fact that, first and foremost, those of us who know Jesus personally are citizens of heaven. What we think and how we act should reflect this truth. This truth which says, “Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a).
Citizens of heaven. Residing on earth. As a dual citizen, we must read and study God’s laws, making sure we take our heavenly citizenship seriously. Will others be able to vouch for us, confident that we’re people who represent the Kingdom well?
As citizens of heaven living lives that reflect the gospel, we should behave in a way that benefits other citizens of earth. As we share Jesus’ love and carry out the commands of Scripture, it makes us more compassionate, helpful, encouraging — more concerned about justice and caring for the poor, marginalized and ostracized.
Today, my friend Thida dwells in a quaint Midwest town; yet she never forgets how her birthplace is a country halfway around the globe. Although she lives out her days as a woman in America’s heartland, she’s ever-mindful of her beloved homeland and how much being connected to it means to her. The sights, sounds and language of Cambodia are forever embedded in her being.
This is what we are: citizens of heaven, reflecting the good news of eternal life in Christ to our fellow earthlings all around us who are watching our behavior. Let’s remember our aim is to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ — one that draws others to Him when they see our loving behavior.
May we be both heavenly minded and earthly good.
Dear God, I am living here on earth as a foreigner. Help me not become too wrapped up in the way the world does things. Help me continually place my treasure and hope in heaven as I reflect the gospel to a watching world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
1 Chronicles 29:14-15, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” (NLT)
The world is full of struggles, temptations, fractured friendships and financial hardships. Yet Paul’s letter to the Philippians claims we can discover contentment and joy in the midst of it all by prioritizing what is truly important — Jesus. Check out Karen Ehman’s upcoming LifeWay Bible study on the book of Philippians entitled, What Matters Most.
Join Karen on her blog today, where she’s celebrating the release of What Matters Most: A Study of Philippians. When you preorder the study, you’ll get a free downloadable PDF of life management tools including “Time with God” daily journal sheets, a weekly calendar layout page, a master to-do list and lovely Scripture memory cards of life-changing verses from the letter of Philippians. You’ll also be entered to win a book release grand prize package worth over $100. Details at Karen’s blog.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of some ways Thida would have to adjust to living in a new place. Imagine what a comfort it would be for her to return home to everything familiar.
In what ways is this world (the world’s ways of thinking and doing things) foreign to you? How have you gotten too comfortable here? How can you fix your eyes back on heaven, your true home? Let us know in the comments!
© 2018 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.