Day 10

Citizens of Heaven

from the Philippians reading plan


Philippians 3:17-4:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12, Romans 16:17-20

BY Debbie Eaton

It is early in the morning as I sit on my back patio breathing in the cool air, sipping my coffee with my journal and Bible in hand. The light of day has taken over the dark of night. My view to the west takes in the expanse of the blue cloudless sky, majestic mountains rising up and a slight glimpse of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

The expanse overwhelms me, and it is as though heaven and earth are connected in that moment. I know this life on earth is temporary and heaven is eternal, yet the struggle of living in the gap confounds me.

Paul knew this struggle well. It’s what drove him to write to the church of Philippi with passion, urging them to join him in recognizing and waiting expectantly for the eternal in the midst of the temporal. This was not written in arrogance but with humility. In Paul’s day, people didn’t have a Bible in hand to reference and cross-reference to the character of Christ. They needed an example to follow.

In humility, Paul pleaded with the Philippians to imitate his own relentless pursuit to mirror Christ. Moved to tears over the deception and dangers of false teaching, he warned them to be wise in their choices and steadfast in their conviction (Philippians 3:18). How could Paul presume to be a model for other believers to follow? Because he himself only aspired to know Christ and follow Him (Philippians 3:10-12).

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “imitate” as an act, “to do the same thing as someone; to copy.” Our world today gives us no shortage of examples to follow—from magazines and movies, television and social media, to celebrities, athletes, and politicians. Our potential influences are endless. We must be aware that these examples can easily promote a divided heart, drawing us into the desires and deceptions of earthly things, as Paul warned (Philippians 3:19). Temporary things cannot bring long-term contentment (Matthew 6:19-21).

When instead we imitate the ways of Jesus, we are transformed more and more into His likeness. As the Word of Life takes deep root into our minds, hearts, and souls, we are able to live as aliens in this temporal land. We are empowered to stand firm in the pain and mess of life with compassion and love, joyful and expectant of Christ’s return. Instead of merely surviving, we as believers have the joy and privilege of illuminating the character and values of Christ to a world that desperately needs to know Him. By the grace of Christ in us, we become someone to imitate—someone who points others to the hope of the gospel.

In the blink of an eye, our existence on earth will be gone and the expanse of blue sky will give way to the eternal. The earthly things will vaporize, “but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). And while we wait for Him, we rejoice in being His ambassadors here on earth—those who live even now under the rule of the one true KIng. Our citizenship is now, not just later!

So, along with Paul, I say to you, dear sisters, you who “are dearly loved and longed for, in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends” (Philippians 4:1).

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Post Comments (107)

107 thoughts on "Citizens of Heaven"

  1. BlessedandFavored says:

    When I got nervous about a situation today this reminded me to stand firm in the word

  2. STAND FIRM ANCHORED IN THE GOSPEL.

  3. Jess says:

    God’s desire for me today is to stand firm in Him. I am waiting to see if my doctors are right, that I’m about to miscarry. This is my first pregnancy, and was achieved after a long process of IVF which resulted in just one embryo. The long awaited news that I became pregnant was the best day of my life. The call that came two days later. Was the worst. Praying for a miracle from the God of all miracles and healing, and for the strength to stand firm in Him no matter what.

    1. Amber Marshall says:

      I’m praying for you today, Jess. I’m confident that God is with you and will give you His peace. Praying for healing and strength.

    2. autumn says:

      Praying for you!

    3. Melanie Wright says:

      Jess, I just read this devotion and your comment this morning. I realize you wrote it 3 months ago, but I wanted you to know that your comment really touched my heart and regardless of where things are now I am praying for you this morning.

  4. Tiffany K says:

    This is my prayer: that I can become more like Christ, that I can an ambassador here on earth for God that I can help point others to grace and to be able to stand firm in the lord, that people might notice a change in me and want that change in them.
    This was such a good read this morning and just what I needed before I take on my Thursday!

  5. Heidi says:

    I have read SRT for the past couple months and appreciate the daily reminders to get into the Bible. I don’t always take the time to read the comments from the beginning, but today I scrolled to the top … And was struck by the question “am I worth imitating?” ….. The past few weeks have been rough for me. My husband works for a farmer, and being harvest, is gone extremely long hours six days a week. Add that to a 10month old who seems to think he’s allergic to sleep, it makes for a Mama not recommended to imitate…. (Which I am reminded of every time I hear my 4 year old scold her brother in my exact tone and words. :-/ )
    To quote the writer- “Instead of merely surviving, we as believers have the joy and privilege of illuminating the character and values of Christ to a world that desperately needs to know Him.” I have been in survival mode and should really be focusing on the joy of imitating and illuminating Christ–particularly for the sake of my children –if not the rest of those I come in contact with.

    1. Heather Kalin says:

      You are a wonderful mama!! Keep shining! :)

  6. Angela says:

    Praying for you, Alanna!

    1. Alanna says:

      Thank you so much!

  7. Alanna says:

    This post has me on my knees. I have been struggling for years with an eating disorder- I run to food for my comfort, joy and peace and then pray later, instead of first. Giving up these worldly things and focusing on God and what he has placed us on earth is what I need to do. Praying that I finally can give my everything to God.

    1. Kylee says:

      Alanna you’re being lifted up! ❤️ the battle was won, let’s walk in victory over this together

      1. Alanna says:

        Thank you so much, Kylee! This is much appreciated.

  8. Sabrina says:

    So good. God's Word is such a living one.
    In the struggle to promote my freelance business, it is SO easy to get caught up with the temporary successes or lack thereof. I've been struggling with comparison and how to pursue Christ through my business this week. Thank you for this timely word, Debbie!

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