Having described his burning passion to know Christ, Paul urges the Philippians: “join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”(Phil 3:17). Our role models matter because (at best) we end up duplicating their actions and attitudes. Some people are unworthy to be our examples: “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things”(Phil 3:18-19). These are sharp words because they imply that professed Christians can live as enemies of Jesus when they are self-serving and worldly.
Paul urges a different loyalty. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”(Phil 3:20-21). Citizenship implies allegiance and identity. We do not belong to the earth, therefore we do not set our minds on earthly things (Phil 3:19). We look above to the place where God lives and from which our Lord will return, changing our bodies to be like his. Like immigrants and strangers, we live among the people here but do not feel at home because we are from somewhere else.
Having a heavenly citizenship means that we must work to be continually aware of the impact worldly culture and thinking is having on us. We cannot be lured into thinking that worldly things are as important as the return of Jesus and the transformation we will experience when he comes back. We think and act and love differently because we are not from here.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Am I comfortable among the people of the world?