Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20
“I can’t believe Christmas is over,” my dejected daughter said.
I know how she feels: The aftermath of Christmas can feel dreary. Presents have been opened. The tree and lights must come down. Listless January—and, for many, the need to shed holiday pounds—awaits. Christmas—and the breathless anticipation that comes with it—suddenly feels eons away.
A few years ago, as we were putting Christmas stuff away, I realized: no matter what the calendar says, we’re always one day closer to the next Christmas. It’s become something I say frequently.
But far more important than our temporal celebration of Christmas is the spiritual reality behind it: the salvation Jesus brought into our world and our hope for His return. Scripture talks repeatedly about watching, waiting, and longing for Christ’s second coming. I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:15–21. He contrasts the world’s way of living—with “mind[s] set on earthly things” (v. 19)—with a lifestyle shaped by hope in Jesus’ return: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20).
The reality that our “citizenship is in heaven” changes everything, including what we hope for and how we live. That hope is fortified by the knowledge that with every passing day, we’re indeed one day closer to Jesus’ return.
What are some of the things you hope for in this world? How do you think your hope in Jesus influences and affects the earthly things you long and hope for?
Father, thank You for the hope that I have in Jesus and in His return. When lesser hopes compete for my heart’s affection and attention, help me to lift my eyes to You.
Paul lived such an exemplary life that he asked the Philippian believers to imitate him—to use him as a model of living the life of a believer in Jesus (Philippians 3:17; see 1 Corinthians 4:16). They were to follow Paul’s mindset and actions. He dared to ask believers to follow his example because he himself had “[followed] the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul’s mindset and actions were that of Jesus’—self-denial, unquestioned obedience, and humble service (Philippians 2:5–11). They were to imitate Paul in his relentless pursuit of Christ and Christlikeness (3:7–14). In fact, the Philippian believers were encouraged not only to imitate Paul, but to imitate any believer whose life was undeniably modeled upon Christ’s (3:17). On the other hand, Paul warns of following the wrong models—those who profess faith but “live as enemies of the cross of Christ”; those who live a worldly and immoral life (vv. 18–19).