Citizens of Heaven

Steven Valadez

Not long ago, I watched one of my favorite movies, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”  It tells the story of a British Naval vessel pursuing a French ship during the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s, when England was at war with France.  The English ship, the HMS Surprise, is chasing the French ship around the southern tip of South America.  Both sips are thousands of miles from home.  At one point in the movie, the crew is uneasy about attacking the larger, stronger French ship, especially since they are so far from England.

In an attempt to rouse the men, the captain delivers a speech.  “England is under threat of invasion, and though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home.  This ship is England.”  He reminded them that even though they weren’t in England, they were still fighting men.  They were still citizens of England, and they had to do everything they could to defend their home.

In Philippians 3:20, the apostle Paul gives a similar statement: “But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

He reminded the Christians in Philippi that, no matter their location or earthly citizenship, they were first and foremost citizens of heaven.

Just like the captain of the HMS Surprise, Paul’s reminder about citizenship is really a reminder of behavior.  As citizens of England, the sailors had a responsibility to fight and defend their home.  As citizens of heaven, we have a responsibility to live righteously and obey God’s Word.  No matter where we’re located, or what earthly loyalties we may have, our first priority is to be citizens of Heaven and live accordingly.  We should live lives of integrity, discipline, and courage, because it is our duty of citizens of God’s Kingdom.

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