Where Your Citizenship is, is Where Your Heart Will…
Scripture Reference Philippians 3 : 18
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.
Here in the above passage Paul draws a sharp distinction between the enemies of the cross of Christ and the children of the cross. This is something Paul has spoken to the Philippians about before and he again reiterates how distressing it is to him that people would choose to live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Now I want you to consider for a moment the implications of what Paul is saying here; Paul calls them “enemies of the cross of Christ” and then he identifies them as selfishly indulgent, carnal and hedonistic.
I believe every Christian must choose to fight against the natural carnal appetites that war within us. Paul wrote in Rom. 8: “5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
Paul makes a clear distinction between the person who is governed by the flesh and those governed by the Spirit. The truth of the matter is a believer can allow himself or herself to be governed by the flesh and the consequences of allowing that to happen will be serious. I believe these distinctions are made, not so that we can judge others, but so that we might examine ourselves – Cor. 2 : 13: “5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
A true child of the cross accepts and understands that sacrifice and suffering are not the exception but the norm, whereas an enemy of the cross has their heart and mind set on personal gain, pleasure, and excess. In a culture such as ours which so greatly values hedonism, living as a child of the cross is not only a decision to reject the cultural norm but also to come into sharp conflict with that culture at times.
How can we possibly do it? We must realize, embrace, celebrate, and continually confess that our citizenship is in heaven! We are not awaiting the latest and greatest trends of our day but we are awaiting our Savior from Heaven! We denounce the powers of the world and we magnify the unlimited power and authority of the Son of Man who is seated at the right Hand of Almighty God! And we eagerly look forward to the glorification of our earthly bodies that will be transformed to become like His glorious body!