October 9: “The Balance of the Christian Life”

5 Minute Read + Scripture readings

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Kings 12
Philippians 3
Ezekiel 42
Psalms 94

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Philippians 3:18–20 (CSB): “For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame; and they are focused on earthly things, Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

The verses that I have chosen for today are a wake up call. Paul talks about “enemies of the cross of Christ.” He also says that “their end is destruction.” This is serious!

One phrase that Paul uses to describe these people who were on their way to Hell is this: “their god is their stomach.” Let’s spend a little bit of time with this phrase.

To begin with, we aren’t sure which group of people Paul may have been referring to. Was he addressing the legalistic Jews who were relying upon their compliance to the Old Testament laws? Or was he addressing the antinomian Gentiles who distorted the Gospel and claimed that grace covered everything so they could live like they wanted?

If Paul was addressing the legalistic Jews, then “their god is their stomach” meant that instead of serving and worshipping the God of Heaven, they relied on their works to make them right in God’s eyes. Specifically, they believed that if they complied with rigid dietary laws, they could gain Heaven’s favor. In essence, the god they were serving wasn’t in Heaven but was in their wasteline.

If Paul was addressing the libertine Gentiles, then “their god is their stomach” mean that instead of serving and worshipping the God of Heaven, they presumed upon God’s grace and lived a sensual life. They indulged their fleshly desires with little to no thought of what submitting to God’s rule over their lives would require of them. In essence, the god they were serving wasn’t in Heaven but was in their wasteline.

While God’s Holy Spirit worked through Paul to address a specific group of people (either the legalistic Jews or libertine Gentiles), the principle of the text applies to both. Further, it speaks to us!

Do you rely upon what you do to make you pleasing to God? Then you aren’t enjoying God’s grace. You aren’t enjoying your God because you are being governed by rules that you are trying to keep. So, my friend, learn to live in grace as you submit to King Jesus’ rule over you.

Do you presume upon grace and live a life of indulgence? Then you aren’t enjoying God’s boundaries that He has set in His Word. You aren’t enjoying God because you are disregarding His instructions that are intended to demonstrate His glory and always work for your good. If you disregard them, you will eventually suffer the consequences of your bad, sensual choices. So, my friend, learn the joy of reading and applying God’s Word as you enjoy a relationship with King Jesus.

We see that the Christian life is a balance. We enjoy grace that covers all of our sins. Yet, we don’t presume upon grace. We desire to live in obedience to our Heavenly King and reap the benefits and blessings of doing so.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, help me on my life’s journey. I want to live a balanced life. I don’t want to stumble into legalism and live by rules. I also don’t want to stumble into libertinism and abuse Your grace. Help me, instead, to read and apply Your Word as I enjoy a growing relationship with You. Amen.

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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