Our reality is heavenly. Our citizenship is there and not here. So don’t live a worldly life as a citizen of heaven. Lean into heavenly thoughts and pursuits. By living this way, we will be beacons of heaven’s hope, Jesus, who calls us heavenward…
13 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Many people live as enemies of the cross of Christ. They set their minds on earthly things and look to appeal to themselves rather than God. Our reality is different. Our reality is heavenly. Our citizenship is there and not here. We await our saviour from there – Jesus – who will bring everything under his control.
All the things which reflect the pattern of this earth and which conform to the worldliness which is against Jesus and the cross of our redemption will be brought to his feet in submission. That’s what we’re waiting for. But don’t wait. Don’t live in a worldly manner in the meantime.
First of all, it’s not satisfying. We think we’ll be satisfied when we pursue human dreams or self-centered objects or indulgences of every kind. Then we realize we don’t like the way we feel, or that our pursuits are not delivering the satisfaction we craved, or that the emptiness of life lingers around us.
Don’t live in that worldly life as a citizen of heaven. Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. Press on toward our heavenly calling by following Paul’s example. Lean into heavenly thoughts and heavenly pursuits. Throw yourself into loving the world and your neighbour just as Jesus did. The fulfillment of following Christ in his ongoing ministry on earth towers over worldliness.
By living this way, we will be beacons of heaven’s hope. We will be following Christ, living after Paul’s example, and setting the example for those who follow us. Jesus said, “Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5:16). It is actually not your light you broadcast for others, but heaven’s light – Jesus.