Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
Philippians 1:27 NLT
A citizen is an inhabitant; it’s where we live and where we are known. The 18th-century Scottish economist, Adam Smith, created the moral component to a citizen’s behaviour in his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Gutenberg Publishers). It suggested that while self-interest was the primary driver for human action, on occasion the welfare of another influenced someone’s behaviour. This was only for the “pleasure of seeing it”. I find this a depressing and dystopian view on social interaction and human development.
When speaking of national citizenship, English, Scots, Welsh, Irish and many other nationalities may describe with warmth the characteristics that describe the elements of their identity. Heaven’s citizens may equally present a very positive nature of their citizenship.
However, our instruction comes from the creator of all. God requires me to exercise hospitality to everyone. This moral imperative reveals my credentials as a citizen of heaven.
It has a purpose in demonstrating the effectiveness of the citizen’s charter enshrined in scripture. It operates under the leadership of a benevolent dictator. It insists that those at the margins are treated with the greatest dignity and that everyone’s welfare is the responsibility of every citizen. It offers every citizen an opportunity to explore living this charter in a foreign land before journeying back home for an eternity where this charter ensures happiness for all such citizens. Living as a citizen of heaven means that I inhabit my heavenly home even while I live in a foreign land; it also presents me with a set of moral sentiments whereby the interests of ‘the other’ are placed ahead of my own. Sacrificial living was exactly what the founder of this heavenly kingdom demonstrated.
How well are you doing, and where are the roadblocks in your behaviour as a citizen of heaven?
Thank you for adopting me into your family and offering me citizenship of heaven.