Weekly Podcast- Five To Focus

Take 5 minutes every week to focus on your faith and life. Think of it as a mini biblical counseling session. Each episode will explain a concept from Scripture to help you find freedom in Christ and dig your roots deeper into His purposes for you.

Are You An Enemy of the Cross?

You need to make sure that you are not an enemy of the cross. There are dire consequences.

Let me explain from Philippians 3:18-21. This passage teaches us the difference between enemies of God (or the cross) and citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

Some walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. They have enmity with, are in opposition to the cross of Christ–not just that they don’t like it or just refuse to accept the message of the cross, but enemies conveys that they are actively opposing the message of the cross.

What is the message of the cross? It is at least:

  • the shed blood of Jesus Christ;
  • the forgiveness of our sin;
  • the breaking of the bondage to sin;
  • the release from eternal torment and damnation apart from Christ;
  • the fullness of life on this earth, filled with hope and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

And yet, some live in opposition to this!  Philippians 3:19 describes the enemy of the cross.

Their end is destruction.

This makes sense because the cross represents the release from eternal torment. If you live as an enemy to the cross of Christ, then you are heading down a road to destruction.

Instead of destruction, though, Jesus made a better way: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

Their god is their belly and they glory in their shame.

Belly is a way to refer to appetites/desires of a person. Those who live as enemies of the cross are letting their desires take the place of God. “They glory in their shame” can be understood in at least a couple ways:

They glory or boast in things they should be ashamed of.

We see this today:  

  • The high school student bragging about girls he slept with;
  • The drunkard celebrating his activities from the past weekend;
  • People not only engaged in sinful behavior but parading it around.

They improperly boasted in glorious things

Some commentators think this passage refers to those who claimed to be associated with God but truly were not. They lived under the law and found their worth there.

Some Bible translations say “their glory is their shame.” The understanding is that they were boasting in things like circumcision and dietary laws they followed—things that would have been to their glory as the people of God—but because of how they spoke about it or because of their pride, they were actually shaming themselves.

Their minds are set on earthly things.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?  The enemy of the cross doesn’t have an eternal perspective, so they can only set their minds on earthly things. Life is all about their desires, and the current situation becomes life or death to them because they have no other framework from which to evaluate it.

This is the life of an enemy of the cross. Does it describe you?  If so, the good news that God has graciously allowed you to be a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. The next post will describe how that status affects your life.

 

Five To Focus 53. 4 Reasons For Stagnant Faith

The glory of the past and shame of sin are the first two reasons discussed in this episode on why you might be stagnant in your faith. Next week, Ryan will discuss another two reasons. Let this be an opportunity for personal reflection to see if you are pressing on for the what the Lord has for you (Philippians 3:13-14).  

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Five To Focus 52. Press On Despite the Past

A race in 1954 is a good illustration of what Paul is talking about in Philippians 3:14. Take five minutes to focus on pressing on in your faith in Jesus without looking back and possibly missing the blessing of serving Him.

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Five To Focus 51. A Concise Meaning of Life and Death

In one short sentence, Paul tells us what life and death are all about! Let this episode encourage you that whether life or death, it is about Jesus.

Scripture: Philippians 1:21-24.

 

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Own Your Faith. You Can’t Borrow It.

We sometimes act a certain way because someone is watching. In the presence of a teacher, we might sit up straight and pay attention. In the presence of a parent, we might stop picking on a sibling.

The same could be true with our faith. It is easier to act like a Christian when someone you consider to be a spiritual mentor is watching.

In the letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. . .” (Philippians 2:12, ESV) The Philippians have obeyed the gospel message about Jesus. They were to continue living by faith in Jesus, following the commands of God, whether Paul was with them or not. Living by faith should not only be done when seen by some kind of spiritual leader in your life.

The same is true for us: Our obedience and lifestyle of faith is based upon Jesus, not some other person.

Notice how v.12 says work out your own salvation. Own your faith. You can’t borrow it. The Philippians weren’t made holy by Paul; they were only made holy by Christ when they responded to Him for salvation. If their faith was authentic, then they should continue to work out their salvation, to let it take its effect in their lives.   

Some people try to act better in the presence of certain people, but genuine faith is not a show. Paul was telling the Philippians to live a life committed to Jesus whether or not he was with them.

Some will try to take the title of Christian because they were born in America or because their grandmother was a godly lady and took them to church. But you can’t borrow someone else’s faith. You must make it your own by repenting of your sin and believing in Jesus Christ.

Faith is not dependent on a spiritual leader. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Five To Focus 50. The Struggle of Persevering

You might be wondering somewhat the same thing: Why should I keep on living in the faith? Or maybe even: Why do I still have to be on this earth? What we learn from Paul is this: the motivation to keep striving for Christ has no place for selfishness.

Scripture: Philippians 1:21-24.

 

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If you have a suggested topic for an episode of Five To Focus, simply fill out this form. If you would like to discuss this episode, you may comment on this post or interact with @rstro on Twitter.

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