In Philippians 3 the Apostle Paul said, “Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.”
Jesus wants us to grow into mature believers, but not just for our own good but also for the good of all of those around us. If we are striving for spiritual maturity then as we grow, new Christians will have someone to look on as a model as they grow. But if we are lax in our efforts to grow in Christ, we won’t be of any value to His kingdom.
Paul mentioned some who were living as enemies of the cross of Christ. The Scripture suggests that they were people within the church who were professing to be Christians yet did were not living like Christians. There will always be people who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
Now that doesn’t mean that Christians are perfect in their walk every moment of every day. Christians are forgiven, not perfect. But a true Christian, walking in God’s grace by faith, has set aside the worldly appetites and the sin that so easily besets them. Our position “in Christ” enables us, by the very nature of our position to do that.
Imagine a wide endless ocean or the purest water, and imagine a beautiful whale swimming effortlessly following the currents, feeding from the bounty that is in the ocean. That whale finds little resistance in the water and as he moves his huge tail flukes, he is the most graceful of animals. Yet, beach that whale and he becomes just another huge lump of tissue, rotting on the beach.
And so it is with us. Apart from Him we are dead, but in Christ, we are empowered and that position gives us life. Acts 17:28 tells us that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Without Him we are nothing. Because of the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself, as we are in Him, we will be transformed into a likeness of Him.
We are already citizens of heaven. We may be wearing these earth suits, living on this planet, breathing air and drinking water, but one day, perhaps very soon, we will be able to see His glorious face and be a part of endless worship, in the purist form. There will be no self-esteem and no ego.
In Colossians 1, Paul told the Christians in Colossae that he had heard of their faith in Jesus Christ and the hope that they had in heaven. He reminded them that the gospel that had come to them was the source of that faith and hope.
When our goal is heaven and our faith and hope is centered on Jesus Christ, we will value knowing Him more than anything else. When our goal is heaven and our faith and hope is centered on Jesus Christ, we will endeavor to grow toward maturity in Him. When our goal is heaven and our faith and hope is centered on Jesus Christ, we will seek to serve Him well and be a model for others who are learning how to serve Him.
Lord God of all,
Teach us to love one another and center our faith and hope in You. Your love for us is infinite. Our love for You is feeble and weak. And it is often selfish. Work on us and through us so that what You have called us to do while we walk on this earth, will be accomplished. You deserve all that we can give, all that we have. In Jesus Name, Amen.