Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on any point you think differently, that God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join 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. 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. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who be 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.
Join me in taking a second look at one key point in today’s reading,
But our citizenship is in heaven.
In the Roman world to whom these words were originally written, citizenship was a big deal. The designation meant identity, allegiance, and privilege. Not only did being a citizen give someone a higher status, but it gave them many rights others did not have. The estimate was that less than half the Roman empires population were official citizens. Outside of Italy, few were given that right and throughout the Empire from 20 to 30% were slaves. One could be born into citizenship, could buy it, or it could be granted as a gift for special services, (Some Roman soldiers earned citizenship this way.) The apostle Paul was a citizen, born into it.
The leading edge for the Christian then and now is our citizenship, where we belong, our identity, allegiance, and even privilege. Our citizenship in heaven. It is a precious gift we did not earn; a gift Jesus gave His life to grant us.
- Press on to win the prize, a heavenward one in Christ Jesus
- Set our minds on heavenly things, not earthly ones
- We wait for our savor from there who we will one day see face to face
Where and to whom is our allegiance and loyalty due?
Where do we find our rules to live by and to whom and what are we obedient to?
Where do we find our identity, understand ourselves, discover our world view?
Does our citizenship in heaven supersede any earthly citizenship? (for Paul it did)
To be a disciple is to be a follower of Jesus Christ, a life and lifestyle that is intensely personal and demanding. Discipleship, citizenship in heaven is our idently, our allegiance, where we belong and who we belong to. It is cross based privilege. Its Jesus Christ at the center of our heart, choices, security, and life.
Lord, you know that I am surrounded by things that demand my attention and ask for my allegiance every minute. It can be overwhelming. Today I turn away from those demands and turn my heart toward Jesus Christ and place my allegiance in Him. I chose to be loyal to your kingdom, live by the guidelines you teach me, find my identy in my relationship with my savior, and live into the privilege of my citizenship in heaven.
In Jesus name. Amen
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.