“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.” Phil. 3:18,19 (NIV)
I’ve been writing about how God has placed within each of us a deep longing for Him. However, we usually don’t identify the true source and object of that longing. Instead, we perceive it as a general longing…a hunger of the soul. If we fail to find the true object of that longing, we will satisfy it through means other than God.
We will act like hungry people satisfying our soul hunger with all kinds of earthly things. We will consume food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or materialistic pleasures in order to feed our souls. In medicine, we may turn to achievement in our specialty, popularity with our patients, or even something as seemingly benign as accomplishing good works.
We know we are doing this when our mind is set on earthly things rather than the things above.
Paul calls this making our god our stomach.
Paul also writes that when we do this, we are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. Satisfying our soul hunger with anything other than God causes us to be false worshipers. That quest for satisfaction will be ongoing and will control us because the satisfaction is superficial and temporary.
We may have a good day in our practice helping our patients and in the evening we feel a sense of soul satisfaction and accomplishment. But when we get up the next morning…the longing is back. It’s as if the accomplishments of the previous day never happened. We are back where we started…pursuing our false idols.
Paul also writes that our glory is in our shame.
Our glory is what we are known for…our reputation…and our reputation arises out of what we pursue. We can be known as a physician who happens to be a Christian, or a Christian who happens to be a physician.
There is a difference.
The difference lies in emphasis and focus…and the choice is always ours.
Prayer: Lord show me how I am satisfying my soul hunger with something other than You.