“…whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3: 19)
Paul says this of people without Christ, who in his estimation are living as walking dead. Interesting that this should be found in his joyful letter to the Philippians. There he is demonstrating a kind of indomitable life that is not deterred by the prospect of incarceration, straightness, lack or even death. He says repeatedly to his correspondents that they have every reason to rejoice.
In the fourth chapter he spells out a formula for victorious mental health and hope (verses 6-8). In the third chapter he relates how challenged he has been to exercise himself toward Christ-likeness and the joyful finish line of holy living and fellowship (verses 10-14).
Have you ever found that in sharing some aspect of your faith journey or observations, the listener seems half-asleep, expressionless, even impatient? He does not understand the life that has been planted in you. He has not yet been gifted the eyes to see and ears to hear. His interests are all about his appetites and diversions, and the advertised standard of the restless world around him. That world is a bear-trap proclaiming that it is good and profitable. He is a slave, listless and on a treadmill, and he doesn’t even realize it. He finds it very difficult to express what he is really feeling; what is pivotal to his life.
Do not be upset by the disappointing reaction. Moderate your words of testimony to the situation as the Spirit leads. Too much too soon can be devastating. But a word of identification or honest comfort can work marvels. Most people want attention and affirmation somehow. People pass them by without a look or a friendly comment. It can be a desert of hurt and loneliness out there.
Often we find that we must stop preaching epistles and start living Gospels in their presence and for their aid and uplift.
And in this process God will have ways to keep you/me humble. This grace of yours/mine is not an achievement; not a trophy. It is a gift, Pilgrim. With thankful hearts we give our Saviour and Forerunner the Glory.
Happy, fruitful journeying, discovery and service in the New Year.