‘For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.’ Philippians 3:18-19 (NIV).
Paul comes down hard on Christians who live self-indulgent lives. Those who claim to be followers of Christ but live far from Christ’s model of servant hood and self-sacrifice. These people satisfy their own desires before even thinking about the needs of others.
Freedom in Christ does not mean we are free to be selfish. For as Paul says in Galatians 5:13, ‘You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.’
Paul says that these Christians live ‘as enemies of the cross.’ They are not intimate friends with Christ but are estranged from Him. Enemies even. With their minds set upon earthly things, they are consumed with what makes them look good and feel great. Pride is their god and destruction is their destiny.
Though they give an appearance of godliness, their motive is not to please Christ. Worship is a distraction from work and prayer is an inconvenience that hinders pleasure.
‘Lord, with tears of sorrow Paul wept over those who had gone astray leading a selfish lifestyle. Keep me from my own self-indulgent pride and create in me a pure heart, so that I will be always pursuing Jesus my Savior.’
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
And so, we too must ask ourselves where our heart’s affections really lie today? Is too much of our time spent on efforts that will not endure in eternity, seeking earthly pleasures or satisfying our physical desires?
Let’s be honest, for those of us who think we have our priorities in the right order, we might need to review the astonishing truth that even doing God’s work can become an excuse for not seeking God.
Our minds might not be set on earthly things, but are they wholly set on Christ or the ministerial gifts that He encourages us to exercise? Even in doing what is right, pride can sneak in and our motives are not pure and pleasing to God. Let’s ensure that in all things, we are pursuing Christ alone.
Be Greatly Blessed!