Philippians 3:17-4:1 – Settling and the Appetites of Citizens
People like to settle. Settling on things is more convenient – it’s less work – it doesn’t force you to get your hands dirty. Settling is natural. There are certainly things that we should settle on. Settling is often viewed as gracious and peacekeeping. Those who refuse to settle are seen as arrogant and selfish, and no one wants to be labeled as such. Philippians chapter 3 is a hard chapter for settlers. It’s one that they like to pull out their favorite verses and put them on coffee cups, but they prefer to skip the fullness of the passage. God has given us no room to settle in Philippians 3. He has whittled down our smorgasbord of pursuits and affections to the singularity of Himself.
From the beginning of time, God has demanded our worship and obedience, and we have always settled for something less than Him. Adam and Eve’s appetites in the garden proved their hearts preferred God’s creation to God Himself. How we live will always reveal what we really believe about God. God says in Isaiah 48:11, “My glory I will not give to another.” God does not allow us to settle on loving Him. We either love Him alone or we don’t love Him at all. There is no middle ground. There is no gray area. This is why Paul goes after our list of pursuits and accomplishments. If we pursue riches, power, health, safety, or a thousand other “good” things outside of our singular pursuit of Christ, we have stolen glory and worship due to God alone and given it to a lesser thing.
The same can be said for our allegiance. We are so quick to give our loyalty to something less than God Himself. I’ve often been horrified at how easily American Christians worship democracy as if it is God’s plan for humanity. We are proud to be Americans. We’re proud of our democracy and government. We can’t imagine life where we don’t’ have a say in our destiny and future. And that’s why so many love the American church. That’s why so many love America. That’s why we don’t love God. God will always threaten our allegiances to the things of this world. My allegiance is not to a country, landmass, or system of government. My allegiance is not to my family, friends, or church. My allegiance is to Christ alone.
Please hear me. I am very thankful for being born in a land where the Gospel can be preached unhindered. In loving Christ I can be thankful for freedom and democracy, but they do not hold my allegiance. In Christ I can be thankful for the men and women who have fought and died to protect my freedom. But my allegiance is not to them.
As citizens of Heaven we are called to live lives radically different from the world around us. That means our appetites have to change. That means are allegiances will be different. That means we refuse to settle on certain things. We refuse indifference in the face of belittling of God’s glory. We refuse to remain comfortable in our doctrine and lifestyle even when others have left us to stand alone. There is a vast difference between what is good and what is godly. Let us make sure that our allegiance and our appetites are for the things of God and not just for what we deem as good. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,