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.
We are continuously inundated with messages and desires that are contrary to the cross of Christ. Much of what we see or hear through social media, television, radio, or podcasts goes contrary to what God teaches through His Word. While Paul did not have to deal with cell phones, he had to deal with the same world system that is contrary to Christ. False teachers seeking to sell the idea that we can be fulfilled and satisfied apart from God have been around since creation.
It can be overwhelming when we see how openly our culture defies God. Instead of denouncing sin, people glory in their shame. This is not a new phenomena; it was happening in the 1st century as Paul wrote to the Philippian church. Their minds are set on earthly things, and they walk as enemies of the cross. They are not indifferent to the cross; they are opposed to it. The cross of Christ reveals the truth about their sin, and, therefore, they react violently against it.
If we chose to focus just on this portion of the text or just on the world system that is contrary to God, we would be depressed and overwhelmed. Yet Paul writes about these people not with hatred, but with tears. Yes, Paul is angered with false teachers and has harsh words for them throughout his letters. However, he is also compassionate and sympathetic. He wrote about them in tears because if they remain unrepentant their end will be destruction and judgment.
We should have righteous anger towards sin and the devastating pain it brings upon people. However, we must also have compassion and share the truth Paul lays out in the rest of the passage. We do not need to be overwhelmed by this world because we are citizens of heaven. As believers in Christ, our true citizenship is already in heaven. We have hope no matter how bad or evil our society becomes because this world is not our true home. We are waiting for our Savior to return. Our minds are not set on things of this earth; our hope and joy finds its foundation in Jesus Christ. While we are impacted by what takes place in this world, we are not controlled by it. We have a better citizenship awaiting us. This gives us hope and a message—a message we need to share with those who are currently walking as enemies of the cross.