Living as a Citizen

As Christians, we should strive for a union between what we believe and how we live our lives. If we truly consider ourselves citizens of heaven, then that should be reflected in the choices we make, the things we do, and the words we say.

Consider Paul’s argument in Philippians 3:8:

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Paul really believes that knowing Christ is the most worthwhile thing in life, and I think we can all happily agree with him. But what does it mean to know Christ? Paul gives us the answer:

“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (3:8-11).

Now do we still really want to know Christ? It’s not as easy as we usually make it out to be, for Paul clearly seems to think that knowing Christ means knowing him in his suffering. Knowing Christ means the loss of all things, and, more than that, participating in his suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Are we prepared to accept that? We say that we believe in Christ and desire to know him, but do we embrace everything that entails? Or are we just like the rest of the world in the way we live? Paul, at least, is consistent with his belief; he is ready and willing to suffer.

Fortunately, suffering and death give way to resurrection in Christ. This is the prize that Paul seeks, the goal for which he is straining (3:14). Paul really believes in the future glory, and that defines the way he lives in the present.

So, my question is, How we live on earth as citizens of Heaven? What does that look like for us? My guess, based on the rest of Philippians, is that it has to do with living for the sake of the Gospel (1:21-22), and that it is expressed as humility (2:1-11).

What do you think?

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