Intro: In our passage today, the Apostle Paul challenges some well meaning but self-indulgent Christians. These Christians do not emulate the life and character of Christ, yet they profess to know him. Paul uses himself as a model, not because he thinks he is perfect—he has told us he is not—but his motive for living is righteous before God. In other words, Paul has committed to live for God’s glory and he wants others to witness this truth by how he lives each day by faith in Christ.
Paul’s motive to be an example of Christ is a profound challenge that causes me to spend time reflecting on my life this morning. Do the people around me see the character of Jesus revealed in my actions? Do they understand I desire to emulate him, not out of duty, but out of the depth of my love for him? Do they see I am willing to pick up my cross—death to my carnal will and desires—in order to better reflect his character?
If our minds are always focused on the people and things around us and how we are affected by them—positively or negatively—we have made the pleasure of self the center of life. If we are self-indulgent we tend to live how we want especially if it satisfies our personal desires for pleasure. When Jesus is our greatest Pleasure, we are filled with joy and satisfaction, because we have chosen to live for his glory above all other things. This means there will be times we must deny ourselves. Paul wants us to know living for the glory of God is what brings the most satisfaction.
Philippians 3:17-20 (NLT)
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be an example of your character by giving me an ever-increasing appetite for holiness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.