Friday, June 22, 2018
Philippians 3:18 – 20a (NIV) 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven.
Yesterday we started digging into the five behaviors that are clearly NOT to be a part of a mature Christian’s life. Here are some more:
Hopeless living. Paul says, “Their destiny is destruction.” People who are enemies of the cross live hopeless lives. Jesus described the road on which they travel this way: “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)
They appear to be successful and prosperous, but what good is it when they know in their hearts that their souls are being destroyed? How do they know, and why are they so hopeless? Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Every person has the capacity and the need to know and understand eternity, yet without Christ they cannot. They are hopeless. Mature Christians live with hope no matter what the circumstances of life are dictating.
Living to feed the appetites of the flesh. Enemies of the cross have fleshly appetities – their god is their stomach. They are people of pride, seeking to satisfy self. They are covetous, wanting for themselves what they believe has satisfied another. They follow after the lusts of the flesh to fulfill their sensual desires. They are gluttonous, seeking the pleasure of more and finer foods as a means of satisfying some craving for identity and worth. They are jealous of anyone getting attention and believe that through riches and success they can earn the favor of man and satisfy the deep longing in their heart for acceptance. For them, the meaning of life is found only in the satisfaction of the flesh.
Mature Christians live contented lives on earth because our satisfaction is in the acceptance of Jesus Christ, who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24 – 25)
Honoring self for what dishonors God – Enemies of the cross take pride in what is shameful to God – their glory is in their shame. Their opinion of themselves for what they believe in is over-inflated and brings shame to them. They proudly and publicly display their love for evil because it brings them some sense of fleshly fulfillment. They campaign for gay rights, killing babies, and removing Jesus Christ from culture. They believe they are serving the betterment of mankind. They take glory in what they are doing, but it is shameful in the eyes of God.
Mature Christians live God-honoring lives according to God’s principles no matter how politically incorrect society defines them.
Living with their minds set on earthly things. Enemies of the cross fix their thoughts on the ways of the world and how the world can satisfy them. They lay on their beds at night plotting their next pursuit of pleasure and fulfillment. The eyes of their minds have been darkened to spiritual things. David describes such a person this way in Psalms 10:4 – In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Mature Christians live in constant connection with the mind of God. Yes, we can know the thoughts of God – He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth—the LORD God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13
Take inventory of your life, and make sure you are living as a citizen of heaven, not as an enemy of the cross.