Pattern your life . . .
Vol. 4, No. 9 – Philippians 3:17-19
Join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us, for many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. –Philippians 3:17-18
Psychologists tell us that behavior reduced to its simplest denominator is example. It is not a pile of rules, not a stack of regulations (or laws, or codes); it is demonstration.
Paul, effectively, says, This is what worked for me; now let it work for you!
Jesus never intended for Christianity to be a showcase religion; but to be a relationship experience. Jesus never intended for Christianity to become egotistical, but Christ-possessed.
- He lived Christianity in the silence of Arabia
- He lived Christianity in the synagogue of Antioch
- He lived Christianity while being stoned in Lystra
- He lived Christianity in the maelstrom at Ephesus
- He lived Christianity in the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem
- He lived Christianity in the storms on the Great Sea
- He lived Christianity in the prison at Rome
Where are you living your Christianity?
Paul’s examples, his patterns of life, consistently work. His example of pace-setting and tutoring are patterns that prove Christ is real and that Christianity works. He was in tune with Christ’s mandate: Follow Me! God expects His holiness to be lived out in a man or woman’s pattern of life.
Whoa – what about those wolves in sheep clothing? Verse 18 calls them: enemies of the cross of Christ. Those flakes, phonies, hypocrites; people who masquerade as the “real McCoy,” but are dogs and pigs pretending to be sheep.
The outcome is plain in Paul’s writing: “whose end is destruction.” There are many false friends travelling with the majority on the broad way. Some religions teach the outcome for such a life is not altogether bad; it heads to annihilation or a state of nonexistence. They do not focus on a perpetual and eternal separation from God. But that is the outcome of false religion, separation from God, eternally.
While we eat to live, the enemies are known for living to eat. Not just their physical appetite, but their appetites that are sensual, lustful, craving is all they care about. The belted portion of their anatomy occupies the place of their deity. Belches are their praise.
Paul says their glory is their shame. Like dry-rot, they make a game of their shame. In their perversion of the doctrine of grace, their pride leads them to boast in their wicked designs (read patterns of life).
Paul continues; their minds are set on earthly things. A terrible indictment. They have accepted the standards of a godless world and made those standards their standards . . . just following the pattern of the world. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
When a man accepts the moral standards of an animal, he cannot conform to the holiness and righteousness of God.
False theology always begets false practices. Set your course by the right pattern for life.