Philippians 3:17-4:1 (ESV)
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.
1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
It may seem strange in that Paul is asking the Philippians to imitate him. It sounds pretty conceited but it is anything but conceit. What does imitating Paul look like? We get a glimpse of it in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Jesus told Paul that His grace was sufficient and that His power was perfected in Paul’s weakness. Paul completely embraced this was content in circumstances that many of us would not find contentment. It’s hard to be content when we feel weak, are insulted, or face hardships. Paul was able to do it, not because of who he was, but because of who Christ was within him.
That is what Paul is asking us to imitate; for us to know that His power works in our weakness and to be content in our circumstances knowing that Christ is with us and at work in our lives. Paul wants our minds set on things above and not on earthly things, to be focused on eternal rewards rather than earthly rewards.
We need to be focused on the fact that our citizenship is in heaven and one day we will spend eternity with Christ. In the meantime we need to stand firm in our faith and live our life for Christ.
Gracious Father, help us focus be on things above rather than earthly things. We thank You for the hope you give us to spend eternity with You. Amen.