But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, who I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. ~Philippians 3:20-4:1
In the United States, patriotism is often seen as a high virtue, more so it seems than in most other parts of the world. There is a sense of pride and identity in belonging to our country. Though there is nothing wrong with being patriotic, so long as we don’t make our country our first love, Paul reminds us that we belong to an even better Country.
Unlike those whose minds are set only on “earthly things” (3:19), meaning that they’re more interested in what they can gain in this life than in eternity to come, we have a heavenly citizenship. This means that when we come to Jesus, our earthly home becomes at best our temporary second home. Though the book of Revelation describes people from every tribe, tongue, and nation in eternity, we will be united as one people under one banner: The Kingdom of Jesus.
So, we look above and ahead. We long for the coming of Jesus, awaiting the day that he will glorify our bodies. And this longing has present implications. We’re to “stand firm thus in the Lord.” Our faith is to be firmly fixed on and rooted in Jesus, and our primary business is to be about his business.
In his book Surprised By Hope, NT Wright describes this business in three terms: Justice, beauty, and evangelism. Knowing that we have a Savior-King who will one day right all wrongs, we are to seek justice in his name, doing our best to right the wrongs inflicted on those around us. Knowing that God himself is beautiful and that he makes things displaying his beauty (glory) and that eternity will be unimaginably glorious, we’re to combat the ugly stain of sin in the world by seeking to make things beautiful through various forms of art. And knowing that only those who have trusted in Jesus will be a part of the eternal Kingdom, we are to seek to lead as many other people there as possible through evangelism, our sharing of the gospel.
So, let these things drive you as you live and work in this present world but wait for the day of the return of the Savior-King.
New posts from this devotional series in Philippians will run most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.