17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Phil. 3:17-20
Paul teaches us about another joy thief-the endulgent lifestyle. He says that it is possible to follow the wrong example. The affluent, comfortable, indulgent life is substituted for the abundant life that God offers to them through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can settle for the “good life” instead of the resurrection life. Everywhere around us we are shown images of luxury and convenience. We are told that this is life. Have what we want, when we want, and even more than we want. More is better. A bigger house. A nicer car. An extravagant vacation. A juicy steak. All these things are to be our “pursuit of happiness”.
According to Paul, this is what it means to “live as enemies of the cross”. The cross is God’s instrument to kill the sinful, uncontrolled desire to endulge our flesh. Sounds like a drag huh? Death to self never sounds good-especially when we are told so often in so many ways that we are to treat ourselves to so much.
Paul continues by saying that their mind is on worldly matters. All these people can think about is earthly, physically stuff. They get up from the lunch table and ask what’s for dinner. When they hear about green pastures they think about golf fairways, still waters cause them to envision fishing ponds, and fields white unto harvest equate with shopping malls.
Jesus showed us a mind-set and an example: He did not grasp and cling for status, he viewed Himself as a servant to others, He humbly obeyed God, and embraced suffering for the sake of others. This is the pattern Paul speaks of in Phil. 3:17. We are to take note of people who live like this and follow their example. The mind that is set on spiritual things is the mind that has life and peace. The mind set on the flesh is death.
I am taking a fresh look at my mind-set. I’m trying to break the mental gravitational pull of earth and set my mind on the Joys of heaven. My citizenship is there not here. I am trying figure out how to travel this country a little lighter. I owe too much money for too much stuff. I’m not taking any of it with me anyway-it only wieghs me down.