The Apostle Paul is very emotional as he writes his letter to the believers at Philippi. He knows that a full commitment to Christ day by day creates a living relationship with him. His words, to be fully appreciated, require us to engage in meditation if we are to capture the fullness of his message. Paul is greatly distressed about those who have failed to achieve this commitment, created by seeing the unseen! Do you know what that means?
This ‘knowing’ must be at the heart of all true and genuine lives of faith. It is true that there will be some occasions when such a vision fails, men like David and Elijah experienced this; David’s Psalms show his knowing was the driving force in his life.
Philippians is the most positive of all Paul’s letters, yet even at Philippi he had many failures to grieve over. He writes of “many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18). What were they doing to make them enemies? One thing Paul says is “their God is their belly”! It reminds us of the parable of Jesus about the man who had his mind focused on this life’s blessings and said to himself, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19). This is the aim of so many today whether they have ample goods or not. Without Christ, lives lived with this as a focus will come to a sudden and eternally sad end.
Paul sums up the attitude that distressed him by stating that such have their “minds set on earthly things” (verse 19). Undoubtedly those who did this did not see they were doing so, they would usually find time to go and worship for an hour or two on the first day of the week.
The most positive part of Paul’s message is his appeal, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (verse 17). “One thing I do … I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus … let us hold true to what we have attained” (verses 13,14,16).