Todays readings.. 1 Chronicles 26, Ezekiel 35, Philippians 3&4
The Apostle Paul is very emotional as we reads today his thoughts in his letter to the believers at Philippi. He makes us realize that a fully committed belief in Christ goes hand in hand with a fullness of conviction which creates, as a result, a living relationship day by day with our Lord Jesus.
His words, to be fully appreciated, require us to engage in emotional meditation if we are to capture the fullness of his heart felt message to the Philippians. Paul is greatly distressed about those who have failed to achieve this vital attitude of commitment, it is an attitude created by seeing the unseen! Do we know personally what Paul meant?
This ‘knowing’ must be at the heart of all true and genuine lives of faith. It is true that there will be some occasions when such a vision fails; faithful men like David and Elijah experienced this; let us realize how David’s Psalms show his ‘power’ of mind in seeing’ – was the driving force in his life.
The letter of Paul to the Philippians is the most positive of all his letters, yet even at Philippi he saw many failures that he grieved 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 are lived with this as a dominating focus of thought can and will come to a sudden and – an eternally sad – end.
Paul sums up the attitude that distressed him by stating that such have their “minds set on earthly things.” [v.19]. Undoubtedly the ‘believers’ who did this, did not see they were doing so; they would usually find time to go and worship for an hour or two on the first day of each 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] and never be in danger of becoming “enemies of the cross of Christ.”