Read Philippians 3:17-21
We know it is a full-on fight to keep our perspective on God and His kingdom. So often I get caught up in my own circumstances and become more involved in building my own kingdom, than keeping Christ and His kingdom at the forefront of my mind.
I love Paul’s advice for how we can combat that type of living. He reminds us here to keep our eyes on Christ and on those worth imitating.
Do you have someone in your life that lives for the LORD in a way that’s worth imitating? Someone who can disciple you, mentor you, and show you what a life surrendered looks like?
Image Credit: Amanda Tipton, Creative Commons
Get around them, ask them questions, ask them to pray for you. Imitate them.
Again, this book is a source of encouragement and one of the greatest ways God encourages us is through others. We need to have others around us, community, that we can imitate. Not imitate in the weird, flattery, obsessive way, but follow after, be inspired by, people we can look to as examples.
Otherwise, our gaze can turn so easily onto the things right in front of us. It is so easy to lose sight of our eternal perspective and start living with earthly pleasures in mind. “Their god is their belly” (v.19) refers to self worship; whatever we want, whenever we want, whatever makes us feel good, we go after.
When we pursue earthly things as opposed to living as a citizen of heaven, we become our own God, which is why Paul calls these kinds of people “enemies of the Cross.” It seems harsh, but living for earthly pleasure alone reduces God and makes the cross less important in our lives.
This passage is not saying we can’t enjoy our lives or even earthly things, it’s telling us that when anything is a greater aim or greater joy than Christ, we’re missing it. Our greatest aim should be living as citizens of heaven, using others as examples to help us press on toward doing so.
1. Compare and contrast the life lived as a citizen in Heaven vs. a life consumed with earthly things.
2. Why is Paul telling us to imitate others?
3. Are there things in your life you need to purge in order to pursue Christ and live as a citizen of heaven?