Read Philippians 3:1-21
There are three different mindsets of people that Paul references in this chapter. You possibly operate under one of these mindsets. And, in the course of your day today, you likely will/did encounter people representing one or more of these ways of thinking. Let’s go back and summarize these three ideas in Philippians 3.
Mindset #1 – At the beginning of the chapter, you read about “mutilators of the flesh” or those “who put confidence in the flesh.” These people were prominent in Paul’s day. In fact, they were some of the loud voices to the 1st century church. They strongly believed that faith in Christ was not adequate. A person had to be circumcised and keep the Old Testament Law. In their minds, grace was not enough. Personal performance and adherence to a set of rules was necessary in order to be pleasing to God. This mindset is still prevalent today. There are people trying to earn God’s acceptance.
Mindset #2 – At the end of the chapter, Paul describes those who “live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” They essentially thumbed their nose at God as they were driven by their urges and seemed to be proud of the very things, of which they should have been ashamed. That thinking is also represented in our present culture.
Mindset #3 – The in-between verses of the chapter point to Paul as one who refused to boast in performance while insisting on glorying in the cross of Christ. This was the life to which Paul invited the Philippian believers. Their citizenship was different. They were to change their mental focus from earthly to heavenly. Indeed, these people are around today as well. In fact, I like to think that Grace Church is comprised of people who are becoming increasingly characterized by this mindset.
With these ways of thinking surrounding us today, we need to be careful in choosing the mindset with which we will operate. Heeding Paul’s counsel is important:
“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” (v. 17)
Focus on those who think the right way. I find that I am helped by surrounding myself with people like that. I need them as part of my life. That is why I find group life so important! Are you part of a group? If not, check it out at http://woostergrace.org/next-steps/groups/.