The Christian Fish Bowl

Philippians 3:17: 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

A few weeks back my pastor said that being a Christian was not easy; it was impossible – without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Contrary to the popular opinion of the non-believer, Christians are not perfect, not holy, and not above reproach. truthfully Christians, those who walk with Jesus, are the most humble and broken people I know. They are humble because they understand that God is in charge and everything that is good and righteous in our lives comes from Him. Ephesians 5:9: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness,righteousness, and truth). They are broke because in order to come into relationship with Christ the believer must come to the realization that they are at a complete loss without the power of Christ in their lives. Mark 10:27: But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Throughout the life of Paul he models for us the example of the Christian life. In this section of Philippians, he reminds his congregation in Philippi, that he has set the example and that they must refer to it in their own lives and the lives of others. All people who have come to know the Lord came to that knowledge through another believer. Paul is saying. “I have shown you what it looks like to walk with Christ, now do as I have done.”

Who brought you to faith in Christ? Was it a family member or a friend? Think about your salvation story? After you had accepted Jesus as Lord of your life, you had questions; questions about theology, the bible, and a myriad of other topics. No matter what questions you had, they all boiled down to the same basic premise, what do I do now?

If you came to faith as a child,as I did, this person was a family member. in my case, my mother. She sat with me, working on memory verses, explaining scripture, and events on the Christian calendar. She was my Paul. If you came to faith later in life, the person who discipled you was most likely the person who brought you to church or the event where you accepted Jesus. They may have even led you to a decision one on one. Either way, they became your example, your Paul.

We must use caution in our dealings with others asking the Lord for a discerning heart. Paul delivers a warning in verses 18. Telling us that there are some “christians” out there who would rip off believers. Philippians 3:18-19: 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.

The letter to the church at Philippi was written around 62 AD from the inner cells of a roman prison. Paul was awaiting an audience with Cesar, his right as a Roman citizen. Paul thought he might die; it was a reasonable assumption.  Paul is warning the people of wolves in sheep’s clothing, those people who are not committed to Christ but to themselves, those that are out to rob the flock.

The robbery comes in many forms: loss of resources, possible persecution and arrest resulting from non-Christian plants sent to the church to infiltrate it. While these examples are valid they are not the biggest threat. Paul is speaking here of spiritual robbery. He is cautioning the people to be aware of those who would profess Christ with their mouths but then live a  worldly uncommitted life.

This is solid advice for us today. We must view one another as well as new believers through the prism of God’s word and the example we have been given by our Paul. When it doesn’t match up, we are called to come alongside that believer and disciple them in the truth ( See Matthew 18 starting in verse 15). further, we Christians are judged daily by the unbelieving public at large as well as those that are on the fence regarding Jesus.

Often it feels as though we live in fish bowl. having to do what is right while the unbelieving world walks by tapping on the glass in an attempt to distract us. This pressure is the reason God gave us prayer, His word, and fellowship with other believers.  We learn to embrace the “Fish Bowl,” of the Christian life by embracing Christ and the relationship we have with Him. I leave you with this: 2 Corinthians 12:9: And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Grace & Peace,

LD

*If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, email me at savedIIserve@gmail.com and let me know! I will be happy to lead you through what the bible says about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.*

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