Summary: A Devotion for growing Christians
“BRETHREN, JOIN IN FOLLOWING MY EXAMPLE, AND NOTE THOSE WHO SO WALK, AS YOU HAVE US FOR A PATTERN. 18 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; 19 WHOSE END IS DESTRUCTION, WHOSE GOD IS THEIR BELLY, AND WHOSE GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME - WHO SET THEIR MIND ON EARTHLY THINGS. 20 FOR OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, FROM WHICH WE ALSO EAGERLY WAIT FOR THE SAVIOR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, 21 WHO WILL TRANSFORM OUR LOWLY BODY THAT IT MAY BE CONFORMED TO HIS GLORIOUS BODY, ACCORDING TO THE WORKING BY WHICH HE IS ABLE EVEN TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF.”
Paul was able to say, “Join in following my example”. Can you even imagine being able to say that to people without sounding conceited?
I often write and teach that people who confess Christ as their savior should follow His example. I say, pray to be made more like Jesus. I quote scripture verses that exhort us to strive to be Christlike in our thinking.
But I wouldn’t dare say, “Follow my example”. After all, I know me. I know enough about me that I don’t even feel comfortable having people WATCH me closely enough to see what kind of example I might set. Y’know what I mean?
Paul wasn’t conceited. he wasn’t being proud, and he wasn’t a con man. When he said, “Follow my example”, he could say it sincerely, because what he meant was:
“Follow my example, as long as I’m following the example of Christ”. And Paul did. Every breath He took was for Christ. Everything he did; everything that he considered worthy of doing was for Christ. He said, “I am crucified with Christ” What he meant by that was, he considered himself dead to his old life, to the world, to anything that was against Christ.
Then he went on to say, “Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in Me”. Think about that. “I consider myself dead to anything contrary to the Spirit of Christ, yet I do have life, yet that life is not my own but Christ lives in Me”.
Then he says, “And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me”. That’s all from Galatians 2:20 But look at the contrast he makes in verses 18 and 19 above. The one not living for Christ is an enemy of Christ! No one is neutral. You’re either for Him, or you’re against Him. There is no straddling the fence. And what is the end of those who are His enemies? It’s in verse 19. DESTRUCTION.
How can you tell who they are? They “set their minds on earthly things”, says Paul. We can’t see into someone’s heart like Jesus can, but He did tell us that we’d know them by their fruits; that is, what comes out of their mouth, what their priorities are, what kind of things they accomplish in life, etc. So when He says that enemies of the cross of Christ set their minds on earthly things, he’s giving a sign to look for. But here’s a scary thought; when we set our minds on earthly things, like putting our own will and our own desires above the good of others, doesn’t that mean we’re acting like enemies of the cross?
Well, we all have that tendency; we struggle against the flesh, our old nature, trying to rise up and take control instead of letting Christ have control. But we’re supposed to deny that nature and submit our will to Christ. When we do, we win. Because the Holy Spirit in us helps us to win the battle. He will always help the believer, because as believers in Christ we are citizens of Heaven; and being a perfect king, God always takes care of His subjects. Not only will He continue now to change us and make us more like Jesus, but in the end He will literally transform our bodies into glorious heavenly bodies, and take us home to His castle. It says so in verses 20 and 21.
So join in following Paul’s example. Want to see what his example is? Read verses 4-16 in this same chapter, carefully.
(Also read Romans 8:5-28)