This is post #18 of a 26-session blog series entitled Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. It was Eugene Peterson who said that Philippians is Paul’s happiest letter. Join us as we explore this joyful work of Christ as it manifest itself amongst Paul and Timothy, and the early church of Christ-followers in Philippi. Just maybe, we might learn a few secrets to finding true joy in the midst of our lives as well. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. Philippians 3: 17-19 (MsgB)
Atheism = my pathway will lead to my destiny.
Universalism = many pathways will lead to our destiny.
Christ-centered spirituality = one pathway will lead to God, our Father, who is our destiny.
Now, granted, what I’ve just shared here, comparing my definitions of atheism and universalism with Christ-centered spirituality is, indeed, an over-simplification. But, as I see it, this at least gets the conversation going in a culture where more and more people are embracing less and less of the amazing claims of Jesus Christ, who said of Himself…
I am The Way and The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14: 6 (NIV)
I’m sure you’ve heard it from your friends. You may even be thinking some of these thoughts as well!
Sure, I believe in God, but I don’t believe the Church should be so demanding, insisting there’s only one pathway to get there.
Are you kidding? Only one pathway to God? How old-school is that?
Nope. I can’t believe in that one pathway to God thing. Or even God. I mean look at all the sin and corruption coming from those who are saying such things!
And, on it goes.
You see, in today’s society, modern, progressive folks have pretty much come to the conclusion that most, if not all, religion, is just another humanistic way to divide people, increase hatred, start wars, and spread racism, while stirring up a whole bunch of other bad stuff.
In some ways, they are right.
The advancement of a religious case, including attempts to evangelize the world in the name of Christ, have often been done in very ungodly, and very un-Christ-like ways, producing bad fruit that still stinks to high heaven.
But, just because there might be a few bad apples in the barrel, is society correct when we choose to (as another expression goes) throw the baby out with the bath water, subscribing to one of these two popular lines of thinking:
- all religion is unfruitful and not necessary for human life, or…
- all religion is basically the same and it all leads to the same destination.
Yes, I know that today’s Lectio Divina might be seen by some as old-fashioned, non-inclusive, and ultra-conservative words that no longer have significance in today’s progressive, forward-thinking world. But here goes. This time, let’s read Paul’s words from the NIV…
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. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Yup, one unique pathway to one amazing destination, Paul says.
The pathway of Christ. The pathway of the Cross.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The pathway back to God, our loving Father.
So, in closing, might I ask?
What pathway are you walking on today? And why?
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, without a doubt, Your claims of who You are, are just as radical-sounding today as they were two-thousand years ago. And indeed, the pathway back to God, our Father, seems littered, at times, with a lot of the Church’s dirty laundry and unexplainable trash. But regardless of our past failures and my present sinfulness, I choose, this day, to stay on that pathway marked by the Cross, believing that with You, Jesus, serving as my guide, the way home will be a good one, indeed. For Your Name’s sake and for Your Glory. Amen.
Today’s Questions to Ponder: From time to time, it’s good to pull out a roadmap and review both my final destination and the pathway I’m using to get there. What other well-meaning guides, those who represent the voices of atheism or universalism, have I been listening to? What mid-course corrections do I need to make on my journey with Jesus so that I stay on track, walking faithfully down God’s pathway of the Cross?
So, how are you experiencing Jesus as we ponder together on this journey into the Book of Philippians?
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