“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.”
- Paul used a verb (politeuesthe) that literally meant “to live as a citizen.” He wanted the church at Philippi to first see themselves as followers of God rather than citizens of Philippi.
- Paul uses an athletic metaphor of “standing together” meaning that it is a joint effort against enemies of the gospel. “It is most likely that Paul was speaking generally of adversaries of the church of whatever kind. Whether Jewish or pagan, they usually employed the same tactics, and the need for unity and courage among believers was crucial.” (Expositors Bible Commentary)
- Paul points out that it is God who saves us from our enemies though in the meantime we have the privilege of suffering for him.
- Do you see yourself first as a citizen of heaven? Though you may be a wife, mother, friend, American, employee – you are first a child of God and follower of Christ. How does that impact the lens in which you view your circumstances today?
- God says we should not be intimated in any way by our enemies. We should love and pray for those who persecute us, but we are not to cower. We are to stand in the confidence and faith that God will fight for us. Are you confident or cowering today?
- Are you currently at odds with any believers? How can you work through your differences to stand together for the gospel? Do you need to reach out with a repair attempt toward that person with courage today?
- What difficulties are causing you to suffer? Physical ailments? Relational strain? Financial pressure? Ask God to help you see this suffering as a privilege so that you can more fully identify with Christ.
Adoration: Praise God that He offers us citizenship in heaven.
Confession: Admit to the Lord any way you have contributed to division among believers.
Thanksgiving: Thank God for the privilege of suffering in the specific way you are experiencing it recently.
Supplication: Ask God to help you wait on Him with confident assurance in His saving power.