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Their god is their belly

Philippians 3:17-21

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul’s analysis of those who once professed Christ and now walk as enemies of Christ is interesting to me. According to this passage the determining factor as to wether ones “end is destruction” or “glory” has to do with worship.

Those who’s end is destruction have their belly as their god. In other words, they live for the appetites of the flesh, worldly pleasure, self. They see fulfilling the desires of the flesh as being worthy above all else (this is worship).

Those who’s end is glory have their appetites fixed on heavenly things, spiritual things, Christ. They see Christ and living for the things that are of him as being of supreme worth.

This passage follows that familiar passage where Paul says, “Indeed, I count everything (worldly things) as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Do you treasure Christ above all else? Does he rule you? Is he your God? Do you consider him to be of surpassing worth? Or is your belly your god?

This passage has the Biblical doctrine of regeneration (being born again) at its core. To be regenerated is to have your appetites transformed. Before regeneration we lived for the flesh, in bondadge to sin, for our own glory, to fulfill fleshly appetites. After regeneration, our very being (heart) is reoriented to the things of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We live not for self but for the things of God, we are freed from the bondage of sin, we live for the glory of God, and our appetites have been fundamentaly changed.

The things of the world no longer satisfy us the way that they used to. Those things that were once considered delicacies now taste like dung. We find that the things of the Spirit are much more appetizing and yet we still struggle with sin as we live in this broken world. Sanctify us Lord! Help us to walk in the Spirit daily that we might not satisfy the desires of the flesh. Continue to renew our appetites and transform our hearts!

In the end, Paul’s assessment of those who once proclaimed Christ and now are clearly enemies of Christ is that they still have their belly as their god; they are idolators, making something that is not a god in reality a god for themselves. May it not be true of us.

Just Thinking,

Joe

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(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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