Citizen

Certain stereotypes are often applied to certain nationalities. According to an article by The Guardian, Britains are “drunken, semi-clad hooligans or else snobbish, stiff free marketers” while the French are “cowardly, arrogant, chauvinistic, erotomaniacs”. Canadians often view Americans as gun-toting, arrogant rednecks while Americans see Canadians as too-polite beer-drinkers who say “eh”. While not entirely true of the entire nation, a lot of these stereotypes are based on a measure of truth. Certainly there must be enough of these types of people for a large group to view an entire nation in that manner. Many nations even promote their own stereotypes.

But what if you don’t like the group you’ve been lumped in? I’ve travelled abroad with Americans who will not correct people when referred to as Canadian. Though, being Canadian myself, I correct others when I’m labelled as an American. While I have nothing against Americans, my experience has led me to the conclusion that Canadians are generally treated with more respect when overseas. And I like to promote that stereotype.

But there is another citizenship that should be promoted above our nationalities.

…you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven.

Philippians 1:27 (NLT)

Wherever I go, I like it when people recognise that I am Canadian. I’m proud of my nationality. Sometimes I even wear it on my sleeve—literally. But do I promote my heavenly citizenship as much as I do my national citizenship? Do people as readily recognise the fact that I’m a Christian as well as Canadian? What does heavenly citizenship even look like?

I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)

Our heavenly citizenship—our Christianity—should be recognisable by the fruit our lives produce. Like a patch of your national flag on your suitcase, your Christianity should be just as obvious to anyone and everyone you come in contact with. And we should bear that fruit with as much pride as we can muster. As proud as I am to be Canadian, I am more so to be a Christian.

Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 31-33, Philippians 1

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