Philippians 3:17-19 (NASB)
17) Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
18) For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the
cross of Christ,
19) whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
-We have an example to follow, not only in Christ but also others who are "walking well," including Paul.
-Paul is broken-hearted over those who chose to walk a different way
-in opposition to a Christ-centered walk are those who make gods out of earthly things, who set their minds on earthly things rather than on Christ.
I am so glad that we do not have to walk this road alone. Not only is Christ with us, but we have the community of believers to support us and encourage us. As a former pastor friend of mine was fond of saying; there is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian.
Paul encourages us here to look to himself and others who are striving to be like Christ, those who have chosen to "know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering."- Philippians 3:10.
I love that Paul has admitted that he is not perfect in previous verses-we do not need perfect mentors, we just need people who are mature and straining after the prize of the upward call of Christ Jesus. We need to live our lives in such a manner that others may follow our example as well. Not perfect lives, simply people who are "walking with the Lord."
There was a man named Enoch who walked with God. “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” Gen. 5:21–24. All we really know about Enoch is contained in three verses, interestingly, we learn more about Him in the New Testament than the old. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11:5-6, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him” Enoch was a man of faith and lived a life pleasing to God. In Jude 14-15, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him’ ” Enoch was a prophet who shared the message that God will some day come to judge the world, and it does not bode well for those who engage in "ungodly" behavior or speak against God.
From his location in the genealogy in Genesis 5 we know that Enoch lived in a very wicked time, as he was the great-grandfather of Noah. I think it is safe to surmise that during Enoch's time people were living as enemies of God, making gods out of their appetites, glorying in their shame and setting their minds on earthly things.
The world we live in is not that different. In the world of ME our appetites are more important than anything. (appetites here is used to include more than just food for the stomach) Such people are in stark contrast to those who walk with the Lord. We must not be consumed with the self-indulgence of our culture. These "enemies of the cross" can present such an enticing example, but to follow them leads only to destruction. And Paul weeps in this verse for such people. Paul here warns us of the dangers of looking to the world for our examples, instead we need to look for those whose faith is like Enoch's and like Paul's; to those who are willing to suffer the loss of all things for the "surpassing value of knowing Christ." (Philippians 3:8) We need to pay close attention to those examples around us who press on toward the goal of knowing Christ.
15) Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different
attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
16) however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
-what is this about being perfect?
-"have this attitude"...looking back to the previous verses this attitude is the one thing Paul does, forgetting what is behind, looking ahead and pressing on.
-If my attitude differs from Paul, God will reveal what I need to know.
-Paul encourages us to all live by the same standard...Is this Christ?
I had one of those early mornings this morning. Awake at 4 AM, well actually, just finally looked at the clock at 4, and decided I might as well get up and change my perspective. Nothing in particular on my mind, just the way some mornings go. So I called my two early morning buddies who are always ready to go, Woofie and Anya and made myself comfortable in my rocking chair on the back patio. The stars were out and I immediately saw two meteors streak across the sky. Cool. Soon there was a brilliant flash of light, as if someone way out there in space had just snapped a photo and the flash went off. Emerging from that flash was what looked to be a satellite that faded from view within just a couple of seconds. I checked online and can say that I did indeed witness an Iridium flare. Basically, that is what occurs when certain satellites not visible to us normally, reflect the sun just right and we get to see a brilliant show.
I was thinking about that phenomenon in relationship to what I wrote last time on Philippians 3:12-14. There are all kinds of things up there in the sky, but until the sun hit this particular object just right I could not see it. And wow, did it catch my attention with its brilliance! I want my life to be like that. Paul's was; he reflected the light of the Lord Jesus Christ in a brilliant way.
I am not perfect, Paul was not either, I much prefer the translations that use the word mature in this case: Let us then, who are mature, have this attitude...Paul is not writing this particular encouragement to the new believer in Christ, he is writing it to those of us who are no longer babes in the faith. What does it look like to be a mature Christian? Again, I go back to my last post: a mature Christian is forgetting what lies behind, moving forward, and pressing on. We are reminded in these verses that we need to continue to strive towards the goal, we cannot give in to the pressures of this life to be less than who we are in Christ. If I hide myself from the Son of God, if I do not allow myself to reflect His light and thus shine brightly where He has placed me; I am not pressing on. I am looking behind me at the world and all its enticements, all of its lies. I have to look forward to reflect the Son. I have to position myself properly.
But what does that look like? This is supposed to be the application part of this process. Our goal is Christ, to be with Him and to know Him. Until I am actually with Him in heaven I will not be perfect. But I want to be, and that involves work again. It seems I always come back to the same conclusion, I need to be in God's Word. Everything I know about Christ is found there. Everything He desires of me in this life is found there. I need to read it, to really study it, to ask God to help me understand it. Like Paul said, if I have a different attitude, God will reveal it to me; but not apart from His Word. And then, armed with what I currently know, I need to apply the teachings of His Word to my life; to my actions, to my thoughts.
I have had a few good days, I have continued to work on my attitude and done a much better job of living out 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 with my husband. I need to stay on top of that; keep pursuing those changes so that today will be even better than yesterday, and tomorrow even better than that. I am so far from perfection, but I press on.
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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