Simplify

Reading Philippians 

Reread Philippians 3-4:1.

Paul is urging us set an over-riding goal of knowing God more intimately, relationally, while reflecting his character by who we really are.  He uses the terms “pressing on” and “straining forward” so we may know God and his power as we willingly sacrifice our own interests and desires (3:10-12).  He urges these friends to follow his example, but to be aware that there are many whose example will be a snare and stumbling block to them. 

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:19).

The problem with these people is that they are chiefly interested in themselves, in satisfying their own desires, in pursuing their own interests. It is awfully hard to be singular in purpose when one is tossed about by every wave of worldliness or new trend.  We can’t be thinking of these things all the time, seeking to fulfill every desire even if it is against the Bible’s examples of how we are to live.

In another letter, Colossians, Paul explains how to have this singular eye of knowing God and reflecting him:

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth….Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness…put them all away:  anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk…do not lie to one another…Put on…compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, …put on love…(Colossians 3:2-14).

Notice this is an active sense of determining to think about spiritual things.  Then to turn away from those actions and thoughts that will destroy that determination.  And to replace them with love.  It helps to keep an eye out for people who are humble, compassionate, kind, patient, sexually pure, truthful, forgiving. People like this are to be our role-models. We need friends like this!  We are to be examples for others of kindness, humility, love, while standing firmly, rooted and grounded in the gospel. 

This is really about setting priorities, watching what we think about, what we really like or desire because that will shape who we become.   Jesus talked about the same thing when he said,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money” (or possessions) (Matthew 7:19-24).

Simplify your life by having one desire that over-rides all others:  to know God more intimately and to let others see Jesus in you.

About Carol Brandt

I earned a B.A. in History from Florida State University and M.Ed in.Higher Education from Florida Atlantic University. I taught high school social studies before “retiring” to full-time homemaking and raising two daughters. Now I love being a grandmother to four boys and a girl. I have also raised five collies.

My husband, John, was an optometrist, who worked tirelessly for his profession through private practice and as a consultant, and served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College of Optometry for twenty years.

Ernest Reisinger was my chief mentor in this warm-hearted application of Calvinism. He gave me many books! The Founders Journal and Founders Conferences, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon have been other sources of Reformed thinking as well as the other warm-hearted ones listed in my book, “Warm-hearted Calvinists.”

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