Today’s passage demonstrates two very clear aspects of Paul’s personality. First, he has great compassion for people. He loves them the way Jesus Christ loves them. Second, he has a clear understanding of hope found only in his Savior, Jesus.
As Paul concludes the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians, he expresses his deep concern through tears as he struggles with the poor choices of humanity. Our world, and certainly our country, is struggling with these same poor choices. There are so many who hate Jesus and his work of redemption on the cross. Rather, they focus on their own desires and plans to no avail. Even those things that bring them pride only produce shame.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” - Philippians 3:18-21
Even as Paul suffers over their misdirected focus, he reminds us as Christ followers of the contrasting focus for our lives. We are not to put our focus on these temporal goals or desires, but rather focus on eternity. Paul’s certainty is based on the sovereignty of God and the reality of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I was reminded this week through a phone call with one of our senior adults of this very passage. He shared his struggles with all that is going on in the news and the limitations placed upon him. He then stated that this was not the end and he felt deep sorrow for those who think this is all they have. We were able to celebrate his confidence in a promised future in heaven because that is what Jesus provides.
How important it is for each of us to have the same mindset. Our focus should not be here, on this earth, with all its troubles. I am not advocating that we put our heads in the sand; rather, we need to keep our heads up and work to reach a lost and dying world. Our motivation to work and serve in the midst of all this mess is the fact that we will live eternally in the presence of Almighty God.
Let me encourage you today with the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Wait with eager expectation that our Savior is coming to retrieve and rescue us. Remember that he will transform us to become like him. He is able to accomplish this because He is sovereign.
Pastor Brian Freerksen