“Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do” (Philippians 3:16-17, NIV).
In the 3rd chapter of his letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul delineates two conflicting lifestyles. One lifestyle is characterized by having confidence in oneself and the material things of this world. Let’s call this living down.
The other lifestyle is characterized by faith in Christ and believing in His resurrection power. This lifestyle is characterized by living one’s life on this earth in preparation for the world to come. Let’s call this living up.
Paul says that God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus and admonishes the Philippians to follow his example: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (vs. 13-14).
Paul says the Philippian believers need to live up to what they have already attained. In other words those who have placed their confidence in Christ have received His righteousness and the power of His resurrection is already at work in their lives preparing them for eternity.
Those who are living down only think about their life in this world and have no concern for the world to come. Paul describes them as enemies of the cross whose destiny is destruction. Their god is pleasing themselves and as a result they take glory in their own shameful way of life (vs. 18-19).
But, those who are living up recognize their citizenship is in heaven, that Jesus is Lord and that all things of this world are under His control. So, they live in this world in preparation for the transformation of their physical bodies to eternal bodies through the resurrecting power of Christ!
Consequently, these rival lifestyles culminate in distinctly different destinies. If you are not living up up to Christ’s name in this world, you will be living down your own shame in the world to come.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (I Peter 1:13, NIV)