Philippians 3:17-21 – Citizens of Heaven

Read Philippians 3:17-21

people celebrating with spotlihghts

Are you headed for destruction? I certainly hope not! Paul reminds us that even believers may fall prey to distractions of this world. If you’re like me, you’ve been concerned at times by some of the behaviors or conduct of your friends and colleagues. They seem oblivious to the dangers of this world and embrace it so they can “fit in.” This is not what Paul intends for his fellow believers.

What does it mean to you to be an “enemy of the cross of Christ”? Paul would suggest these “enemies” are too focused on the present. While I am all about being “present” in community so I don’t miss a cue for prayer or way I can support or lead, I try not and allow the expectations of society shape my conduct. It can be a struggle.

Many of us want to please others. Can you identify with this tendency? The more time I spend in God’s word, the more I feel his message to me is to stand out from the crowd. We are called to stand firm in our faith, even if that means we take a hit in our popularity. Are you willing to take that kind of “abuse”?

This passage talks about being citizens of heaven. This suggests we’re just “passing through” this world. Our true home is heaven. How does that truth resonate with you? When you look at the world around you, what do you see? Do you feel like an alien at times like I do?

As I write this, I’m sitting in an airport, coming home from weeks of travel involving visits with family and friends. I’m curiously watching the world go by. Everyone has a destination. Some are in a hurry. Some seem bored. Most have their faces glued to their cell phones oblivious to what’s happening around them. I can spend hours watching people, imagining what their stories are. Yet, I’ll never know. But God knows. That’s such a mind-blowing thing for me.

While I’ll never know where these people are heading today, I know where my final destination will be. There’s a lot of peace in that knowledge. I know that no matter how crazy this world may get, my future is secure.

I don’t know about you, but I’m right there with Paul – eagerly awaiting Jesus’ return. It strikes me that many years have passed since Paul was anticipating the resurrection power that would change his mortal body into something beautiful. We, too, can experience the joy of that same expectation.

Take some time today to wrestle with the idea of your citizenship. Where do you belong? I can still hear the flight attendant tell us to look for our nearest exit, because it might be behind you. For me, my destination is yet to come. I am a citizen of heaven!

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, I am so grateful for the knowledge that my final destination is with you. I am a citizen of heaven, and you are preparing a place for me. Like Paul, I look forward to the day when Jesus will return and transform me with your resurrection power. In the meantime, help me to keep my focus on you and my glorious future. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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