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Paul's Obedience Principle

Published 2/24/20

Read Philippians 3:20-21

" 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."


What does Paul mean when he says, "our citizenship is in heaven"?

While maintaining an accurate picture of his humanity, Paul made it his goal to live a changed life. While this is by no means easy, our research at Back to the Bible confirms the success of Paul's "obedience principle." Christ-followers can recover from sin and self-defeating behaviors--and ultimately get unstuck spiritually--if we learn how to "crawl, walk, and run" when we face a battle. In other words, we respond differently depending upon the struggle and the season of our faith. (Sometimes we behave like a mature believer and walk steadfastly or run; at other moments we must respond like a new believer and crawl.) Here's what we must do:

Maintain focus. Whenever he failed, Paul didn't despair in his sin. He embraced Christ's forgiveness through confession and repentance, and he got back in the race. When you're in a race, you may stumble, but you can still make the finish line if you get back up and keep running.

Leave the past in the past. Since God has forgiven past sins, Paul let them go. And then with every ounce of strength, he strained to follow Christ--to obey and to love Him.

Surrender control. At times we all get caught up in an illusion: We think that we control our steps. When life is smooth, we feel pretty good about ourselves. But when the rug is pulled out from underneath us, we're devastated. Paul knew this all too well. "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).


Lord, give me the strength to be obedient to You. Help me to stay focused on my heavenly citizenship. Amen.

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