Today’s Bible reading is Philippians 3 and it draws our attention to an important principle: every pathway eventually ends. Some paths are longer than others, but they all have this in common: sooner or later, there are no more steps to take.
In Philippians 3:18-19, Paul takes his audience to the “end” of one, tragically-common path through life.
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul turns the attention of his audience to another path, a much less common path, but one with a very different “end.”
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.
This second path involves a great deal of self-denial, no doubt, and self-denial is hard. It demands discipline, and discipline is difficult. It requires endurance, patience, and faith-fueled perspective, but look at how the path ends.
Two distinct paths. Both involve worship, submission, and glory. Who will I worship? On what will I set my mind? In what (or whom) will I glory? My answers to those questions will not only shape my relationship with Jesus, they will set me on a distinct path. Eventually, my sojourn–like the sojourn of all other travelers through life–will eventually end.
The most important question of the day, then, is this: when I stand before Jesus at the end of the path, will he recognize me as a self-identified enemy of his cross or a faithful citizen of his kingdom?