Week beginning: 4th December, 2016 | By Peter Thompson | London
"For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ…But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await our saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."Philippians 3:18-21 (NIV 2011)
As Billy Graham once famously said, "This world is not our own. We are strangers in a foreign land; our citizenship is in heaven". And Paul, much earlier, used similar thinking as he wrote to the Philippians. We are already citizens of heaven, meaning that we should expect some rejection in this world, because we are fundamentally different from those around us. So as we seek to live for Jesus amongst our fellow trainees or associates or partners, we should expect them to question us, and even oppose us.
These verses also challenge our view of our non-believing colleagues. Look how Paul describes their status as enemies of the cross 'with tears'. Do we have that same heart for the lost that Paul talks of? It can be so easy for us to just focus on our own lives, but the challenge here is to love our friends deeply, and to be regularly stirred by how they need Jesus.
Notice also Paul's excitement at Jesus' return, as he 'eagerly' awaits our saviour. We can amazingly share in this hope, of Jesus returning to save us from our sin, and to transform our weak bodies into perfect bodies like his!
1. Pray for members to be prepared to count the cost of following Jesus, remembering where their citizenship is.
2. Pray for members to have a real heart for the lost, particularly with colleagues, and so to be bold in inviting to carol services and speaking of Jesus this Christmas.