So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.
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.
But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
The call to follow Christ is not easy.
Part of taking up the cross of Christ is to live as he lives. That is, to run the same course. What goal are we running towards? It is the goal of loving well. It is the goal of faithfully living as those who love as Christ loved.
It is that simple and that hard.
Too many of my friends who call themselves “Christian” live in a state of low level anger and frustration. They constantly have little jabs at “those people.” This is not a right vs left thing. This is a both/and thing.
Being on the same track with Christ is to move beyond the tribalism of whatever day and age we find ourselves in. This tribalism in the first century was Jew/Gentile our tribalism today is Left/Right. Christ calls us out of all that and beyond all that. Easy street is marked by tribalism because it feeds the belly. This is the center of selfishness. It feels so good to “own the libs” or to “own the Trumpers” or to “own the…insert your anti-Tribe here.” It feeds our bellies.
The end result? Shame.
The way the NIV renders this little bit is this way, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
The next bit in the letter is Paul pleading with two people to “be of one mind.”
It is so hard to follow the Christ way. It demands that we see in the other the image of God and the inherent worth of their personhood. The Christ way calls us into forgiveness and reconciliation. If we are living with the mind of Christ then we are going to love our neighbor and our enemy.
This is the way of the cross and oh so many hate it!
My prayer for holy week is that for those of us who call ourselves Christians to seek what it truly looks like to love our neighbor and love our enemy. My prayer is that we would embrace the way of the cross no matter how hard.