February 25, 2010

Feb. 25: Don’t be fooled

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By Lynn Jackson, vice president for enrollment management
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:17-4:1 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
Each time the news breaks with another story of a pastor that has stolen a large amount of money or an evangelist that has broken their marriage vows, it saddens me. I’m sadder for the person, their families, the people that believed in them and those who strive to stand firm in the Lord. I’m sad that it will now take more work and healing to bring those that are struggling with their decision on which way they want to pursue life to get past their wrestling with the story of someone that proclaimed to be a follower of Christ.

Stories of behavior contrary to the ways laid out for us by Christ are not new to my generation. They have been happening since that famous story of Adam, Eve and the apple. The good news for us is that Paul’s words to the early church are as relevant now as they were then. In today’s Scripture, he is warning the Philippians to not be fooled or misled by people around them that appear to be following the ways of the Lord but who are only doing so in order to achieve riches and gains for themselves while here in earth.

What do I hear these words saying? Stand firm in the Lord. Be careful of those that seek to misrepresent or lead you away from Christ. Find someone that is truly living in the way put forth for us by Jesus and use them as a model. I also hear the questions that I need to answer for myself every day. What am I rigorously pursing? What prize have I set my eyes upon?

The season of Lent always heightens my thoughts that each day I have the opportunity to remember that I am a citizen of heaven. That my savior is Jesus Christ and that he is working to transform me so that I am continuously pursuing knowing Christ.

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SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:17-4:1 (NRSV)
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

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Comments (5)

  1. This Scripture reminds me that I must keep my old nature under subjection daily and let the new nature prevail. This to me is dying to self that I may continue to Trust God and obey Him.This, for me, is standing Firm in Him.

    Edith L. Werdebach February 25, 2010 |
  2. Thank you, Lynn. You remind me to imitate those who imitate Christ, to watch for and be influenced by persons and attitudes in tune with models that reflect the way of Christ.

    Elaine February 25, 2010 |
  3. When I consider these thoughts today one thing that stands out for me – having been in ministry in my younger days, falling into deep desperate places between then and now, and finally coming again full circle with a greater understanding of grace and love is this: I hurt for those that are hurt and destroy their lives, but I believe as I have seen for myself that within this country there is huge hole internally. There is no work for healing within. There is a missing piece it seems. There is poverty within us maybe because of the wealth externally. Maybe this is one of the fundamental principles of why “money is the root of evil”. Because there is an interal poverty created.

    There is a lack of focus on wholeness. This makes me sad. It makes me sad that I once did not consider the whole, and at times I still flounder – deny yourself means a great deal more to me…so much more.

    Jennifer February 25, 2010 |
  4. Right on !!! I have been appreciating the current devotions by Goshen College. p.s. Last night the Goshen Men’s Chorus presented their program at Park View Church and it certainly was inspirational.VK

    vera kauffman February 25, 2010 |
  5. I too am overwhelmed at times at the poverty within myself that has been created because of the lack of focusing on the Savior. I pray that during this Lenten season we will all work on correcting this inner poverty. Well spoken Jennifer.

    Kim March 5, 2010 |