In a world in which many athletes resist being any kind of role model, former quarterback Tim Tebow once admitted that he is a role model, and that he strives to be a good one. Tebow understands that we are all role models, and our model will either be a good or bad one. In today’s reading, Paul called the Philippians to see him as a role model and to “join in imitating me.”
- Who are the people in your life who have been good role models for you?
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 3:12-4:1(ESV)
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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.
4 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 3:17-4:1. Verses 3:12-16 were covered yesterday.)
- Identify the two paths of life that Paul referenced in this section. What might the person choosing the path of verses 18 and 19 look like in our culture today? What is their focus (vs. 19)?
- What are some of the “earthly things” that capture your time and attention?
- In contrast to those with minds set on “earthly things,” where does Paul, by example, point us to focus (vs. 20)? What is the goal of living life with a focus of our citizenship in heaven?
- What is one thing you can do today that will help you put your focus on your relationship with Jesus and stand firm?
RESPOND TO GOD
We have a strong tendency to separate earth and heaven. Earth is here, now; heaven is there, later. Paul stated emphatically, “Our citizenship is in heaven,” so we must learn to live now with a focus on later. Today is not all there is; there is eternity, and we must learn to make choices that reflect our eternal, heavenly citizenship. Paul implored us to live by the example he set with a focus beyond the here and now.
- Confess to God the areas of your life where you have set your mind on earthly things.
- Thank God for the promise and hope of heaven, and ask God to grow your passion for eternal things.