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
We have all been there. You post something on Facebook only to have it ruined by someone’s rude, ill-timed, or off-the-wall comment. As you peruse social media today, consider the following wisdom-inspired questions before you respond to someone’s post(s)…
Will my comment generate strife?
Perhaps you have a different point of view? Perhaps the person is misinformed? Regardless, we must be careful as to how we go about “correcting” others and/or expressing a difference of opinion. Too often, especially as it pertains to spiritually-geared posts, I have witnessed a comments section turn into an all-out war as various opinions are “thrown into the ring.” If a person is expressing or promoting error, perhaps it is best to go to them directly?
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
If you do post a differing opinion or are seeking to correct someone who has posted something that is inaccurate or sinful, be sure that you do so in a spirit of love! Be gentle and be humble.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
Will my comment allow Christ’s light to shine or hide it under a bushel?
If I say this, will it reflect my identity in Christ? If I say this, how will it reflect upon the church of which I’m a member? Will my argumentative spirit or poor choice of words cause non-Christians to conclude they want nothing to do with Christianity, or will my love-driven response leave a positive impression as it relates to those who call themselves Christians?
“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:5-6)
Am I meddling?
Is this person asking for advice or am I offering unwelcome input? We all know the best way to do it don’t we? As Solomon wrote, though, there is a time and a place for everything…even advice! (Eccl. 4:1-8)
“He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)
Will this come across as rude?
It might? Then it is probably best to keep it to yourself! Did they mispel a word? (See what I did there?) Does that shirt really clash with those pants? That is all well and good, but leaving such nuggets of truth in a comment is probably going to do nothing more than hurt the person’s feelings. Remember that we are instructed to treat each other the way we would like to be treated. (Matt. 7:12) Consider the way love behaves…
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Am I the edifier or the edifiee?
Yes, Grammer Police, I am aware that “edifiee” is not technically a word. Did you read the previous point? 🙂
Sometimes we read a person’s post and think, “Wow, what a stupid thing to do! I would never do that!” But then, we actually type such thoughts into a comment so as to impress the world with how much better we are than this simpleton. Or, instead of degrading the person, we resort to one-upping them. “What a great accomplishment! I did the same thing in half the time it took you!” …Yippie? As Christians, we are tasked with building each other up and rejoicing with each other, not inflating ourselves and being filled with envy.
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Romans 14:19)
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Remember, friends, that the tongue, as described by James, is a fire! (Jas. 3:6) We can do a lot of harm if we are not careful. Let’s make sure that we are living up to that glorious name by which we are called; the name of Christ!
“By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37)
– Devin Roush