ODJ: Citizens of Heaven

February 24, 2018 

READ: Philippians 3:17–4:1 

We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Saviour (v.20).

My kids hold two passports—one from the United Kingdom, the country where we live, and one from America, the country of my birth. Although they’re growing up in London, they feel a pull towards America because of their relatives and friends there. But although they’re citizens of both countries, my husband and I remind them that their primary citizenship is of heaven.

The apostle Paul spoke of this citizenship in his letter to the church in Philippi. As part of a Roman colony, the city was made up of many Roman citizens. Writing to those who were entitled to benefits and privileges from the ruling power, he called them to a higher allegiance (Philippians 1:1). He wanted them to bring the reality of their heavenly citizenship into their daily lives. Instead of being ruled by their appetites or desires, he longed for them to be revealed as those transformed by their life in Christ (3:19-21).

Being citizens of heaven sets apart those who follow Jesus. By definition we may do things differently, as my husband and I explain to our kids when they wonder why we engage in nightly prayers or go to church regularly. As parents we hope and pray that our children will give their hearts fully to our King and Saviour and that the regular practices of a disciple of Christ will be something they engage in with joy (4:1). We hope that throughout their lives their heavenly citizenship will be the one that defines them.

How about you? Do you sometimes feel you don’t fully belong as you long for the kingdom of God to be revealed? Join me in praying for God’s transforming power in our lives, so that we will be known as citizens of God’s kingdom, who spread His grace and truth.

—Amy Boucher Pye

365-day plan: Deuteronomy 30:1-20

Read John 17:15-18 and consider what it means to be in the world but not of it. 
Where are your allegiances? To a particular sports team? To the books you read? How does your heavenly citizenship trump all other loyalties?