Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 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. 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.biblegateway.com scripture of the day: Philippians 3:20
When I was a kid, I learned my grammar from School House Rock at the Conjunction Junction. If you see a word like “But…” at the beginning of a verse you are working with, this is a big clue that you have to look at what comes immediately before it.
Paul is grief stricken! It appears that some of the Philippian church leaders are not following the humble self sacrificing example of leadership handed down from Jesus to the Apostles (including Paul) who in turn handed it to the leaders of the churches that they trained. Instead the teachings and behaviors of some appear to be in contrast to the lesson and example of the cross which includes self sacrifice, submission, humility, and selflessness. These leaders appear to be following their own desires (apparently spiritually and physically) and their focus is on apparently building up their own earthly influence. Paul says that this is a bad example!
So Paul reminds the people (and us) that the good example is to always focus on our citizenship within the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul invites us all to give all glory and honor and praise in all aspects of our lives to He who will transform us when he returns. Paul is declaring loudly that Christ is our King!
In our world of narcissistic fervor, it is easy to lose focus on which kingdom we serve. It is very easy to become enslaved in the consumer rat race or quest for personal purpose and meaning power centered on ourselves. And lest we forget that Pastors and elders are no exception.
Throughout my career I periodically have to take some respite time to recalibrate. I go on retreat or to a conference like the one I just attended. This is absolutely necessary to refocus my call from the One who is the King of Glory and the King of all Kings.
And if you need the ultimate example, look to Jesus. He would routinely step out of the business of ministry to get away. He would isolate himself so he could just focus and listen to and submit to the Father’s will. You see the last two examples in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Golgotha!
The best example is HIS example!