Todays readings… 1 Chronicles 26, Ezekiel 35, Philippians 3&4
… NOW TELL YOU EVEN WITH TEARS”
The Apostle Paul is very emotional as he expresses his thoughts in his letter to the Philippians. He helps us to realize that a fully committed belief in Christ goes hand in hand with a fullness of conviction which results in a living relationship day by day with our Lord Jesus.
This comes across to us in what Paul writes here. His words, to be fully appreciated, require our emotional meditation if we are to capture the fullness of his message. Paul is greatly distressed about those who have failed to achieve this vital attitude of commitment, an attitude created by seeing the unseen! Know what we mean? This must be at the heart of all true and genuine lives of faith. It is true that there will be occasions when such a vision fails, men like David and Elijah experienced this.
The letter of Paul to the Philippines is the most positive of all his letters, yet even at Philippi he had many failures to grieve over. He writes of “many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Ch. 3 v.18) What were they doing to make them enemies?
One thing Paul says is “their God is their belly”!! It reminds us of the parable of Jesus about the man who had his mind focussed on this life’s blessings and said to himself, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, relax, eat, drink, be merry.” [Luke 12 v.19] This is the aim of so many today whether they have “ample goods” or not. Without Christ, lives many lived to this purpose can and will come to a sudden end.
Paul sums up the attitude that distressed him by stating, they have their “minds set on earthly things.” [v.19] Undoubtedly these did not see they were doing this, they would usually find time to go and worship for an hour or two on the first day of the week.
The most positive part of Paul’s message is his appeal, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” [v.17] “One thing I do … I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus … let us hold true to what we have attained.” [v.13,14,16] Let us all press on and “hold true,” praying for those who cause our tears.