As we approach the end of the age, we find a generation that’s wholly given over to the acquisition of stuff. Material possessions which tie ones heart to this present world with a fatal attraction as they become consumed with “gain” and status among their contemporaries. We can expect this from those who, as of yet, know not God. We have all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh (all have sinned) and remember the former life from which the Lord Jesus has delivered us. Tragically, however, the quest for material gain and the proverbial “your best life now” mentality has permeated the ranks of twenty first century christianity. Professing saints who put on a spiritual showing, but through their conversation reveal that they are more interested in building earthly kingdoms than laying up treasure in heaven.
Such will often quote I Timothy 6:10; stating that the love of money, “not” money is the root of all evil, but give little heed to verses 1-9 which spell out the inherant dangers of excessive material accumulation. The sixth chapter of I Timothy was covered in detail several months ago, but I can’t remember the post in which it’s found. Nonetheless, multi-million dollar mega-churches are constructed on the outskirts of cities whose parks are filled with homeless souls who have gone two or three days without food. God knows each of their names, has the hairs of their heads numbered, and knows who didn’t reach them. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us and I’m convinced that this is to try the hearts of those who have been given much. We should visit Matthew 25:31-46 on a regular basis. I can think of nothing more tragic (and sobering) than the thought of folks going into eternity thinking “I got mine,” only to learn that they never really knew him.
Every one of us should continually examine ourselves.
The intent of this post is to encourage the saints to let go of the temporal and lay hold of that which is eternal. To abide ever closer to Jesus and feed daily on scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation. To become so heavenly minded that our only concern is to be pleasing to the Lord and our only desire for being in this world will be to shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ both in word and deed. A truly heavenly minded person will turn the world upside down and truth will go forth; regardless of the physical consequences. The apostle Paul was of such a mindset. He was “betwixt; having a desire to be with Jesus and yet desiring to remain here to further the gospel and strengthen the churches. We cannot even begin to fathom the burden that must have been on his heart. Philippians chapter three offers much insight into being heavenly minded and the following passages are from one of my favorite places in scripture.
Philippians 3:2-3 “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
This passage reveals the contrast between the saints and the non-saints. The true saints simply love the Lord Jesus and find their joy therein. As we grow spiritually, those things which are flesh-based will diminish in their appeal. Evil workers will always pander to the flesh and regardless of how much we grow spiritually, we should always be on guard for such. (The above passage echoes Pauls warning to the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-30.) In the chapter at hand, Paul goes on to explain how he had everything in this world; education, status above many of his countrymen and how that he was “a Hebrew of Hebrews.” This makes the following passage even more phenomenal; and yet it should be the case with all who come to Jesus and have their sins washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Philippians 3:7-8 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted but loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
Wow! Verse seven has been on my heart a lot lately. Anything that we obtain in this world for self-consumption is lost to eternity. A multi-million dollar cathedral decorated with the logo of a particular ministry is wood, hay and stubble. Bringing nourishment and hope to one who has been all but forgotten in this world is a simple act that will carry over into the realm of the everlasting. Everything that we possess in this world is, as Paul writes, “dung.” Some of us have a lot of expensive dung and others have just a few pieces of dung. Nonetheless, it’s dung, it stinks, and too much of it will pull at the heart like gravity. A quick visit to I Timothy 6:9 is needful. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition.”
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Keep pressing ahead. Let go of yesterday and keep looking unto Jesus. Paul is also warning us not to “plateau” and think to ourselves “I’ve arrived. Gods ways are so far above ours that none of us could even begin to wrap our mind around it. This is an awesome thought and just makes one desire all the more to let go of the temporal and learn of great and mighty things which we know not. This post is already past the point where I usually end, so I’ll start going quicker. This next verse is needful.
Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
If we begin to go astray; even if it’s so slight that it evades our radar, the Holy Spirit will make it known to us; so long as were atuned. If we love the Lord, we’ll strive to live for him and will keep our hearts with all diligence. We should never underestimate the danger of a little drifting or stagnation. The next passage is a stern warning to be aware of those who obsess over the wood hay and stubble of this world.
Philippians 3:18-19 “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is there belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
They mind earthly things. The thorns of this world have consumed them to the point that, while they go through the motions of christianity, their hearts are right here and they pursue a life of self-indulgence. I was just thinking of how Paul writes this “even weeping.” Professing christians who are consumed by this world present a heartbreaking situation because they’re missing so much. The joy of the Lord and the reality of the age to come is so awesome that it resides far beyond anything that the world can offer. Yet many choose to find a nitche, settle in, and get cozy instead moving into the deep things of God. This comes from experience. I’ve had more carnal phases than I care to think about, and have a lot of growing to do still, but when the Lord delivers us from something, what a wonderful and joyous thing it is. It makes us all the more want to press on and grow into the fulness of Christ.
Well, I have to wrap this up. It’s late and I’m on first shift now. (at least for now) The final two verses tell us where our conversation should be and what the end of that conversation is. Our speech and actions will inevitably reveal the contents of our heart. If we love the Lord Jesus and long for his appearing, this is where our conversation will be. The worlds conversation will simply fail to move us as it contains no life and offers no hope. Well, I’ll close for now; despite the profound need for editing. I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.
Philippians 3:20-21 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working thereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.”