I found one of my new favorite phrases in the footnotes of my Bible recently. It was attached to this verse:

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you…” Philippians 1:27

According to the footnote, the phrase, “let your manner of life be worthy” literally means, “only behave as citizens worthy.”

So what he is saying is “only behave as citizens worthy of the Gospel.” If you read further in the book of Philippians, Paul also calls us “citizens of Heaven” and in Colossians, he says, “[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)

So we are citizens of heaven, citizens of Jesus’ Kingdom, and my new favorite, “citizens of the Gospel.” I didn’t even know we could be citizens of the Gospel, but I like it!

Paul plays on this idea and reminds the Philippians (and us) that they (and we) carry a great honor in following Jesus Christ and being citizens of his Gospel. And just like any other citizenship, there are ways we are unique in this world. 

How do we do this?

We represent our King Jesus in this world by finding joy in our suffering, being generous to others, and standing firm in the Gospel. By living differently, we can get others to ask us, “why do you live like that?” and then share with them how they can become citizens of the Gospel, too.