Citizenship means different things to different people. What is at the heart of true citizenship is a sense of belonging, a feeling or sensation that yes, this place is for me and these are my people. It should be a place where one can feel supported, included and loved.
Having citizenship of a commonwealth is not something insignificant. It should give us a sense of purpose, a sense of direction and an ability to decipher what actions we should take throughout the course of a day and even a lifetime. At the same time, it should come with a great deal of responsibility and sense of duty as well.
Coupled with citizenship is the natural fact that there has to be a leader that presides somewhere in some place, at some time. Now, some of those leaders may get to that position through nefarious ways or criminal acts. Others might get elected to that position, or maybe even appointed. Some just happen to fall into them, based upon who they are, where/when they were born, or through some sort of connections they might have. No matter how one attains a position of leadership/overseer/king, etc.; the point is, with any sort of form of citizenship there is, at bare minimum, one leader.
As Christians, the leadership we should be following, imitating and serving, is of course, a no-brainer. At the heart of this, though, and at the heart of any true loving, communal place of living and doing life (whether it be mortal or eternal) is a core value, element or standard that we follow.
For us, that gold standard and core element is a sacrificial love for others. That becomes the crucial Christian value for how we should conduct ourselves. Jesus showed us this.
We know that Christ used his power and glory not as something to be exploited and stored up for selfish reasons. Instead, it was given freely to others, to anyone willing to take it. Giving that gift meant that Jesus made sacrifices throughout His lifetime and ultimately sacrificed His life.
Through Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross, every single person in the world has the opportunity to enroll as a citizen of Heaven.
When we focus on a life of sacrificial love, we are sending a message—a strong message that, without using words, tells someone else:
You are so important to me that I am willing to put my own needs aside for the time being. You are so important to me that I am willing to give up something I want (or want to be doing) for you.
Somewhere along the way or through the process we lose something. But that certain loss (whether big or small) should be someone else’s gain. If we are to be true citizens of Heaven, it is essential that we carry this is the type of mentality with us every day.
We have to put others first, that cannot be emphasized or encouraged enough. It was at the heart of Christ’s ministry, and it should be at the heart of our living and ministry too. Along with that message comes a reminder that: “Yes, you are my equal” or “Yes, we are both in this together” or “Yes, you also belong.”
We can be citizens of Heaven before we actually get there.