Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;Philippians 3:15(NASB)
As we read through the New Testament epistles whose target audience are Christians in this dispensation of grace, we find numerous warnings against placing our confidence in the flesh. We are not only cautioned of the dangers of putting our reliance on other people, but also of trusting in ourselves and our own abilities.
We should not be stuck in the elementary teachings of the Christian faith, but should be pressing on and reaching forward for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, on a daily basis. The journey of life is not a stroll through a rose garden of delight, but a long-distance race that requires determination and effort - as we rest our confidence in Christ, trust in His sufficiency, and appropriate all that is ours in Him.
We should be moving forward, each day, in our knowledge and understanding of our faith in Christ. We should be maturing in the faith, growing in grace, progressing in the sanctification process, and becoming increasingly like the Lord Jesus Himself as we keep Him as the focus of our heart - for He is the Head of the Church and we are His Body.
As we journey through life, we should engage in godly living and a heavenly walk. We are exhorted to follow the example of Paul, Christ's apostle to the Gentiles, who was not only ready and willing to live for Christ but was equally prepared to suffer and die for His name's sake.
Although we will never be perfected in spirit, soul, and body, until we leave this earthly life behind, we are instructed to become mature believers and are expected to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
Paul was a pattern of the 'perfection' to which we must strive - for although we will not be totally conformed to Christ until the resurrection/ rapture, nonetheless, spiritual maturity is attainable and those that are spiritually mature should be willing to suffer and die for Christ, as exemplified by Paul.
It is the attitude of self-denial for the sake of Christ, where we present our bodies as a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, about which Paul is speaking when he writes: "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude." It is an attitude of self-denial - a willingness to suffer, whatever the cost. It is even being prepared to suffer persecution and death for the sake of Christ Jesus our Saviour, about which Paul is speaking.
All Christians do not have this attitude, for everyone's spiritual development towards full maturity depends on their walk and their progress in the sanctification process. But Paul understood this and explained that although there will be those that balk at the prospect of suffering for the sake of Christ, he continues reassuringly "and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you."
For centuries, the normal Christian life has been that of suffering, pain, persecution, and death... and for many generations, Christians have sacrificed much for the sake of the gospel. However, for the last century or so, the west has been living an abnormal Christian life with little real suffering and not much pain - but the tide of hatred towards Christians is turning... and the normal Christian life of suffering, self-sacrifice, persecution, and martyrdom, is already evident in certain countries and has been for some considerable time.
Let us not pursue a complacent Christianity where we compromise the truth and shy-away from standing firm on the gospel of God. But rather, let us that are spiritually mature, adopt Paul's attitude and be prepared to suffer for the sake of Christ - and if any of us have a different attitude, we pray that God will reveal that also to us as well.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Paul who pressed on for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and was prepared to fellowship in the suffering of his Saviour. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient no matter what suffering I may have to face. Prepare my heart and mind to walk in the ways of God all the days of my life, for His praise and glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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