“For, as I have often told you before and now say 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 on earthly things. ” (Philippians 3:18–19, NIV84)
The cross of Jesus Christ has many enemies in this world. It’s ironic, though. How is it that the message of God — who loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die for us so that we might be set free from the bondage of our sin — can produce such a violent reaction? Jesus’ message is a message of love, but it evokes such anger and hatred in so many. The shear idiocy of this response tells me that Satan is involved. He never makes much sense, but He always breeds fear and violence. Why? Because he does not want people set free from his tyrannical rule. He does not want us set free, so he convinces the world that Christianity is a threat.
Be certain also of this: enemies of the cross exist in Christian circles as well. Oftentimes the enemy is within. Satan lures Christians into believing they can live with a foot in both kingdoms (heaven and this world). They do a little redefining of the Word of God and before you know it, it says just what they need it to say. How can we spot an enemy of the cross? His or her mind will be on earthly things. The focal point of that person’s life will be earthly rather than heavenly. That person’s words and deeds will be rooted in the desires of this world. Paul says “their god is their stomach.” What he means is that they will create a Christianity that allows them to live like the rest of the world lives.
Whether within or outside the Church, enemies of the cross need to be confronted with the truth. They need to know that living for this world is a useless endeavor. Only God’s kingdom is rooted in truth and is eternal. This world, and all it has to offer, is temporary and fleeting. It would be a shame to dedicate one’s life to the offerings of this world.
As we stand as soldiers of the cross, may we be equipped to properly defend our position to those who stand opposed.