In Philippians chapter one, verse 27, we are told, “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 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.”
This verse really resonated with me tonight especially the phrase that Paul uses to describe how we must conduct ourselves, as ‘citizens of heaven’. I had to pause when I read this, to wonder what exactly Paul means.
The first thing that occurred to me is Jesus’ commandments to love others as ourselves, and to love God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul. In heaven we will be connected with God and Christ, so we will be part of them.
To conduct myself as part of Christ means having access to a love so deep that it is hard to put into words; I interacted with Christ and God while using a legal substance over a few years and I found them both to seemingly be made of love itself. I know that when I was in their presence I felt a calm and serenity that I had never felt before, along with the feeling of being loved to the depth of my soul.
It is understandable to me how when we are connected to this love we won’t have any desire to commit acts harmful to ourselves or others, because we will be so at peace. Paul is asking us to live as if we are in the presence of God and Christ in our daily lives, and connected to them as if we are already in heaven. When we act out of love for others this is attainable, because it is the love of God and Christ coming through us.
When we act out of self-will, it becomes much harder, because we disconnect from God and Christ and put ourselves above them and other people. It always seems isolating to me, and it many times causes me to feel friction with others and sometimes anger when I am in self-will instead of channeling the love of Christ. This verse really struck a chord with me tonight, and I am glad that I stumbled across it.
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