Philippians 3:17 "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus ...Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."
I hope the theme is clear. Paul leaves no doubt now. He says there are two kinds of Jesus followers. The true kind and those who are enemies of the cross. The distinction between the two types is clear. The true followers count their lives as nothing. They count this world as nothing. They have one goal only and that is to be and do whatever Christ calls them to do.
The enemies of the cross are the opposite. They are all about themselves and success here and now. Their god is their belly (self satisfaction) and they set their minds on earthly things.
The battle is clearly in the mind and for the mind. The first step down the wrong road can be very subtle. It could be mourning the fact someone you love is being treated unjustly and then doubting God's faithfulness and care. Isn't it ironic that we don't doubt God for having been silent when Jesus cried out to Him in Gethsemane? Isn't it ironic that we don't doubt God for having said and done nothing when Jesus cried out from the cross "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" We don't doubt Him for "abandoning" His own sinless son. We don't doubt Him when we hear of tragedies in the news or see strangers sick and dying. Yet when troubles come directly to us we doubt. Suddenly God is unfair and unfaithful. Why the difference? Why is it OK for God to allow others to have difficulties but we draw the line when those difficulties come to us?
Because we're selfish.
Because we don't have the self sacrificing mind of Christ.
Paul says "Follow our pattern. We're in jail and we're ok with it because we trust that God knows what He is doing. Our citizenship is in heaven and this life is of no consequence."
Maybe we aren't yet where Paul is. There is a maturity process in following Jesus. The only safe thing for us to do day by day is follow and trust. He laid His life down for us. This isn't a game, it's a war. A war for our hearts and minds. Whenever doubts creep in and selfishness tries to make a comeback return to the cross. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Let this mind be in you that is in Him.