Philippians 3:18, 19
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, …
Many years ago I went to a meeting for pastors sponsored by a successful evangelist who was coming to our town. As a young pastor I was impressed by his fiery presentation. Afterwards I commented to an older pastor who was mentoring me that this preacher had a powerful “anointing”. His response was gentle and kind but straightforward, “Never confuse anger with anointing.”
Just a few years later this evangelist had an encounter with God that changed his life and resulted in him confessing some hidden sins, “While preaching from the pulpit I would be battling lust and anger.” His ministry also changed. There was still power but now there was also compassion.
We see that same attitude in Paul when he speaks of those whose “destiny is destruction”. He has no anxious expectation for justice or vengeance on the wicked. Like Jesus, he did speak mercilessly against the self-righteous but for the wicked there were only tears. It causes me to examine my attitude toward those who “live as enemies of the cross”. I may not be filled with anger but apathy is no better. Neither produce tears.
Lord, give me your heart (and eyes of tears) for those going away from You.
But what of David who asked God to “break the teeth of the wicked” or even the Lord who “laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.” (Psalm 37:13) Contradiction? Did Paul not have a proper attitude or did God change from OT to NT? I’ll save that for the next post.