Philippians 3:18, 19
"18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth."
After first reading this scripture, I thought, "I'm certainly not an enemy of the Cross. I love God and I do my best to live for Him." However, I started to dig deeper into what verse 19 what saying.
"...Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth."
Hmmm. How many times have I put off fasting as something for "others" to do (...their god is their appetite...)? How many times have I joked with my girls about something that I should have been convicted about (...they brag about shameful things...)? For example, have I bragged about getting someone in their place or thinking someone else is beneath me? How many times have I disregarded my long-term goal (eternity in Heaven with Christ) for a short-term goal like being in a relationship or putting on a good impression (...they think only about this life here on earth...)? This really hit home for me. If these things make me an enemy of the Cross, I have some work to do.
There are things that many Christians consider as "Big Sins" like adultery, fornication, drinking, and stealing. Although they are no doubt sins, they are just as sinful as lying, disobeying, being envious, and gossipping. Only WE rank sins. However, they ALL stink in God's nostrils.
Let's take a moment to make sure we aren't an enemy of the Cross: the very thing that saved us. It is because of that same Cross, that God gives us grace and new mercies daily. So, if you're an enemy, you don't have to stay one. God has given us free will, but the scripture warns us that enemies of the Cross are headed for destruction. Let's heed this warning together.
At first glance, it was very hard to break this scripture down into a context in which I could apply to my life. However, I had to research many interpretations and translations to completely understand what Paul was trying to teach us in Philippians. Paul was so passionate when describing the WRONG way to live out this Christian walk. He gave us the perfect picture of how NOT to act as servants of Christ. It also gave me insight to what my pastors always tells me, “Don’t be fooled by what you see, but go by what you KNOW”.
Sometimes, I know for me especially, we as “baby Christians” (those who are fairly new in their walk with Christ), are confused when we see seasoned Christians acting not so Christ-like. For me, my first encounter of this was very disturbing and bothered me for a few days. It wasn’t until my pastor addressed this issue that gave me a piece of mind. I had to realize that there are professors who are not possessors. There are those who may profess Christ but don’t actually possess a personal relationship with Him. I used to be a professor…my actions exhibited that I didn’t know Christ, however, I continued to claim that I “knew” Him. These are those that are enemies of the Cross… heading for destruction in a make-believe faith. But the thing about God is that He weeps for us as Paul does. Paul shows compassion for us in his weeping, which shows us how much God cares for us.
Furthermore, Paul continues to go on with showing us what makes us an enemy of Christ. The idea is that instead of serving God we are consumed with gratifying our own physical desires. We serve ourselves. We make idols out of our own fleshly desires. For some reason we have the stupid notion that “if it feels good do it,” or “If it brings me pleasure that’s what I’ll do and pursue in my life.” We forget that we must deny ourselves, and that it’s bigger than our fleshly desires. These particular scriptures show us that we need to be cautious that we aren’t directed astray by the wrong kinds of examples like Paul describes for us as he informs us about the enemies of the cross of Christ.
I can’t help but to stress how it’s so important that we know the Word and are living obedient lives that aren’t persuaded by people who misrepresent God’s word. We need to continue to be Christians of what we know and study in His word and not by what we see.