“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.
This post originally appeared on Proverbs 31 Ministries and was republished with permission.
Karen Ehman is a New York Times bestselling author, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and a writer for Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that reaches over four million women daily. Married to her college sweetheart, Todd, and the mother of three, she lives with her family in Michigan.