17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Paul closes this letter to the Philippians warning them there are enemies who will always attack their belief. Paul tells us the character of these people; they love to brag about shameful things; and they only think about their life here on earth. Then Paul exhorts the Philippians to live life as though it were meant for heaven, because that is where we all will be one day; living our eternity with Christ.
Research on young adults leaving Christianity by Drew Dyck, "The Leavers,"Christianity Today (November, 2010), p. 40; shows Among young adults in the U.S., sociologists are seeing a major shift taking place away from Christianity. Recent studies have brought the trend to light. Among the findings released in 2009 from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), one stood out. The percentage of Americans claiming "no religion" almost doubled in about two decades, climbing from 8.1 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008. The trend wasn't confined to one region. Those marking "no religion," called the "Nones," made up the only group to have grown in every state, from the secular Northeast to the conservative Bible Belt. The Nones were most numerous among the young: a whopping 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds claimed no religion, up from 11 percent in 1990. The study also found that 73 percent of Nones came from religious homes; 66 percent were described by the study as "de-converts." Other survey results have been grimmer. At the May 2009 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, top political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell presented research from their book American Grace, released last month. They reported that "young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate (30 to 40 percent have no religion today, versus 5 to 10 percent a generation ago)."
There is a race ahead of us all. There are many dropping out and giving up. There are some who are tired and would like to stop, but they keep hearing the encouragement of others. Be an encourager and tell people about Christ. Share your struggles and how Christ has helped you to overcome to most difficult situations. Share your faith with you children and lead them to understand the rewards God has for the faithful. Most of all keep your faith in Christ and look forward to what is in heaven.