Who are you? To help answer this question of eternal significance, JP walked us through Philippians 3, where he encouraged us to forsake the fake identities of this world—our accomplishments, our past, and our desires—and to live in light of our true identity as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
1. If someone asks you, “Who are you?” what would you say? Would you give your name, your hometown, your family history, or a list of your life experiences or travels? Would you begin to describe your accomplishments, your past, or your desires?
2. Read Philippians 3:1–11. What does Paul say about his former accomplishments? Why does he consider them to be, quite literally, crap? What are specific worldly accomplishments—“fake IDs”—you have been and are currently tempted to embrace? In other words, what trophies do you love to display in your trophy room to show others that you are who your fake ID says you are? Why do you love to show them?
3. Do you desire to be identified by your accomplishments or by what Christ has accomplished for you?
4. What does Paul say about his past? What are some things from your past that you are focused on and continue to let define you as part of your fake ID? Do you see forgiveness when you see Christ on the cross, trusting that He has completely removed from all your sin from your record and identity, and given you a new and eternal identity as a righteous citizen in His Kingdom of Heaven? Or do you think, as JP said, that it is humble to reject God’s gift in Christ and to be uncertain of His promise? Read 1 John 5:13, and consider JP’s statements: “Christ’s radical forgiveness doesn’t belittle your sin, it magnifies His grace. You are identified by Christ’s payment, not your past.”
5. Read Philippians 3:12–21. What does Paul mean when he says that he looks forward to the prize which he has already attained? What does does he say about earthly desires? What does he mean when he says that those who live as enemies of the cross have their stomach as their god? Where is their mind set? Where are you tempted to let earthly desires identify you rather than your true, heavenly citizenship? Consider JP’s statements: “The truest thing about you is where you will be forever and ever. You are identified by your eternal destination and not your earthly desires.”
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior 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 3:20–21