Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:17-21
“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.” (Philippians 3:18,19)
I believe Paul had in mind people who he had ministered to at one time, who had shown a sincere interest in the Christian faith, but who later turned away from following Christ. Paul was disappointed with them, even to the point of tears.
As I look back over my ministry, I have experienced what Paul was describing. I’ve ministered to people who said they believed in Jesus and wanted to follow Him. Yet, later they turned away from Him and chased after the idols of their hearts. It was so disappointing! At one time they seemed on fire for the Lord. They attended Bible studies with me, were regular in their attendance in worship services, and even served in ministry positions in the church. But, they left it all.
Paul explains that some of those in his ministry left because their god was their belly, and they gloried in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Such people become driven by their passions and sinful desires. They give way to the flesh and fall away from the things of God. They love the things of the world more than they love God.
The Apostle John warned about the danger of the world: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires. But whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17).
It is precisely because they love the world — “with minds set on earthly things” — and not Jesus that “their end is destruction.” We must constantly be on guard because the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions can lead us astray.
Lord Jesus, I pray for Your protection from the world. Enable me not to set my mind on earthly things. Instead, let fix my eyes on You, the author and perfecter of my faith.
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