“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
More About Philippians 3:17-4:1
Written by Melissa Spoelstra (First 5 Ministries)
Paul knew the power of influence. We tend to become like those we hang with. If we spend a large volume of time with negative people, we can find ourselves complaining as well. When our friends continually downplay the consequences of sin, we can find ourselves holding a lax attitude, too.
In contrast, when others around us pursue Christ wholeheartedly and seek to live godly lives, we find that their behaviors can be contagious too. Their “iron” has the potential to sharpen ours. (Proverbs 27:17) Paul told the believers at Philippi to imitate his behavior and pattern their lives after others who lived righteously.
That may seem like a scary notion. I can’t imagine telling someone to follow me around all day because I was confident my decisions were worth emulating. We know that no one is perfect, (Romans 3:23) and Paul admitted that he hadn’t attained perfection by any means. (Philippians 3:12)
Yet we can look at the patterns of others’ lives and consider whether they possess an eternal, Christlike mindset or a temporal mindset. Surrounding ourselves with mature believers can help us navigate our own relationships with food, media and the stuff of this life, so that we can make eternal evaluations.
Prayer: Lord, show me where my Christian liberty verges on license. My flesh is weak, but with Your power I can make wiser choices. Help me not to be consumed with earthly things. Instead, help me to evaluate my thoughts and decisions with eternity in mind. Thank You for warnings that cause me to pause and reflect on my journey of faith and obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Journal Prompt: Where is the Lord calling you to take an eternal perspective in your thinking today?