Philippians 3:17-19 – Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
In describing those who Paul dubbed “enemies of the cross of Christ,” he lists a curious characteristic: “whose god is their belly.” What does that mean? Perhaps we picture someone fondly patting their stomach: “Oh, belly. I love you so much. I’ll feed you whatever you want.” While humorous, this image quite accurately describes man’s general behavior.
When Paul talks about the belly in this passage, he is not referring to the physical body part, but rather is using the term to designate one’s appetite. The individuals under consideration were not concerned with God’s will, but rather their own. Whatever looked good, felt good, seemed good, etc. is what they “worshiped.” They had propped up their own desires into the position of God.
Another verse which describes this behavior is found in Colossians 3 and verse 5:
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
We often think of idolatry as a thing of the past. “Surely you aren’t suggesting that I bow down to some kind of forest creature widdled out of a tree?!” Well, no, but perhaps we are bowing to a different kind of idol? Perhaps our idol is money or “things?” Perhaps it is something intangible like success or fame? If we are covetous people (i.e. pursuing our desires first and foremost), then God, through Paul, says we are idolaters!
What is the top priority in your life? Is it God? Or, do you have a “belly god?”
If you’d rather be home watching TV instead of assembling with the saints for study and/or worship…you might have a belly god.
If you spend more time reading Facebook than you do reading God’s word…you might have a belly god.
If you spend countless hours on the phone talking to friends and family, but hardly ever talk to God in prayer…you might have a belly god.
If you indulge in sinful practices when no one else is around…well, in that case, you definitely do have a belly god!
We must realize that the only thing that brings true and lasting satisfaction is a relationship with God through Christ. Things of this earth are fleeting. They are temporary. They always leave us wanting more. Our pursuit of these things is vanity. But our labor for the Lord is not in vain! (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58)
Romans 6:20-23 – For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 55:2-3 – Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live;
May we all ensure that our “god” is THE God of heaven and earth! May our worship pertain to Him and Him alone!
Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
– Devin Roush