There is so much to appreciate about our times of worship at Kettering. They are reverent, inspiring, and uplifting. I felt that way Wednesday evening after Jim Grushon prayed, specifically mentioning some of our older members by name and one of our shepherds who had surgery the next day. In his prayer, Jim spoke of the hope ungirding their lives because of their knowledge that this world is not their home. I think as we grow older that realization becomes a little more clear every day. This world is not our home.
In Philippians 1.27 Paul wrote, …let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. In in the original language, the words manner of life mean “to live as a citizen.” The emphasis here of course, is not as a citizen of earth, but as a citizen of heaven – the kingdom of God. I believe Paul intentionally chose this word because it carried great meaning in the Greco-Roman world.
Romans were very political. To be a Roman citizen was the highest honor. Philippi was a Roman colony, of which it was very proud. The city had a Roman mindset, attitude, and lifestyle. It had a refined culture. It’s citizens spoke Latin and dressed in Roman ways. People wore Roman names. They were very deeply into being Roman citizens. Also, living in that culture meant that a person did not live for oneself. It was about the good of the state and living in partnership with society. Individual citizens developed their talents, abilities, and skills for the sake of everyone.
When Paul says live as a citizen, it was something that would have resonated with the Philippians. He certainly wrote it in the context of Christianity. Will you live like a citizen in God’s kingdom?
- Will you love for the good of others, placing yourself in second place?
- Will you live with a sense of pride in Who you are identified with? Never forget you wear the name of Christ.
- Will you live in a manner consistent with the values of the place you call home?
That Paul was thinking of heaven when he told the Philippians to live as a citizen, is clear when we read, But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 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, 3.20-21.
You have been called to live in a partnership with other Christians. To live as a citizen inside a spiritual kingdom. To be governed by God’s laws, which consist of righteousness, faith, love, service, and worship.
Does this describe you?