DONE: You Became a Citizen of Heaven

 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. (Philippians 3:20)

I’ve been fascinated with Arnold Schwarzenegger since I first watched him star in all those cheesy 80s action movies. His entire life story, from coming to America as a bodybuilder to becoming governor of California, sounds as if it had been written by Hollywood screenwriters. It seems like everything he ever wanted to experience he found a way to make happen—no matter how grandiose it seemed at the time.

Needless to say, when his autobiography, Total Recallcame out I was super excited to read it. One of the things that fascinated me the most in his story was how meaningful it was for him to finally gain US citizenship:

“As long as I live, I will never forget that day 21 years ago when I raised my hand and took the oath of citizenship. Do you know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with an American flag around my shoulders all day long.”

Arnold had won the Mr. Olympia competition a record-setting seven times, starred in major blockbuster movies, and built a fortune as a real-estate mogul. Yet even with all of those experiences, one of the proudest moments of his life was the day he finally became a citizen of the United States of America.

Arnold-flagFor someone like me who was born in America, I don’t spend a lot of time considering what my citizenship means for me. I’ve been entitled to all the rights, privileges, and benefits that come from being an American my entire life. I’ve never known any other way. For someone like Arnold however, they’ve experienced what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. They’ve known what it’s like to live in other countries—for better or worse, or to live within the United States as a non-resident.

The moment someone gains US citizenship, they instantly receive all the rights that come with that. In Arnold’s case, he now could vote in US elections, receive access to public benefits, and hold certain government jobs (such as governor). In addition, any children he had as a US citizen (or any children he adopted from a foreign country) would be considered full US citizens as well.

In the same way, the moment you put your faith in Christ, God adopts you as His child. You become a citizen of heaven, instantly receiving all the rights, privileges, and benefits that come with it. Your earthly citizenship may still be in America, France, Nigeria, or some other country, but your eternal citizenship will forever be in God’s Kingdom.

On that day when you finally reach the gates of heaven, God will look at your passport, see that Jesus has already stamped it, and say to you “Welcome home, child.”

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