What Are You Living Up To?
“In any case, we should live to whatever truth we have attained. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.” Philippians 3:16-18
I think we all at times have looked for models to pattern our lives after. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where my dad was someone who I could pattern my life after spiritually. He was a man who loved God, loved God’s Word, and loved me.
One of my biggest fears about being a parent was that I could be the type of role model that my children could pattern their lives after. My heart’s desire has long been that my children would see Jesus in me. I sought God for a long time for answers on how to live up to this desire. God has given me Philippians 3:16-20 as my answer for doing this.
In this passage, Paul made an incredible statement above when he asked those around him to “pattern their lives after his and follow those who follow our example.” I do not believe that Paul had an attitude of arrogance in believing that he had arrived spiritually. I know that because in Philippians 3:12 he declares “that I have not arrived.”
So, how does he make that kind of statement? I believe it comes not from confidence in himself but confidence in what God had done in his life. Paul had once been an enemy of the cross as he describes in verse 18. What did Paul mean by the statement “an enemy of the cross”?
Verse 19 of Philippians 3 gives us that answer when it says: “They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” Paul knew that he had been rescued from a life that was headed in the wrong direction and only focused on the things of this world.
Instead, Paul had experienced the truth of verse 20 in this chapter and had committed his life to the truth of this verse. Verse 20 declares: “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.” Everything about Paul’s focus and direction for living had changed.
He was no longer focused on the things of this world but instead he operated his lifestyle from the vantage point of a citizen of Heaven. Paul’s quest now was to live for Jesus and to do so in such a way that God would be glorified. Paul had seen the difference in his own life that Jesus makes. From the confidence he now had in Christ, he could tell others to follow or pattern their lives after what God had done in his life.
Paul had decided to live up to the standards required of a citizen of Heaven. I knew that for me to give my kids a pattern that they could follow I would have to allow God to change my vantage point. I would need to focus on growing my relationship with Christ and allowing Him to give me the mindset of a citizen of Heaven. I learned that I must be living in such a way as to bring honor and glory to God in all I do.
I pray that we all would seek to live up to what God has called us to!