Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly . . .
As this passage is about the enemies of the cross (v. 18), when I read it, I immediately thought of those who have completely rejected God. The painful truth though, is that this passage applies to me as well. When I pursue my own appetite above God, I make a god of my own stomach. In doing so, I always cause myself and my loved ones some destruction.
This is a lesson I seem to require over and over. My capacity for destructive pursuits is equaled only by my capacity to justify those pursuits. When I follow my appetite above God, my stomach dictates my behavior. Then, I make excuses for that behavior.
It’s just a donut. It’s not like I’m doing drugs . . . I’m only looking at pornography. It’s not like I’m committing adultery . . . I’m just having a drink to relax. It’s not like I’m a drunk driver . . . I’m just working late. It’s not like I worship money or ignore my family all the time . . . I’m only sharing a prayer request. It’s not like I’m gossiping . . .
We pursue our stomach because it feels good. Whether it is food, affirmation, pride, money, sex, gossip, or alcohol, we indulge because it provides some gratification. Paul, in today’s passage though, promises that there is always a price to pay. Destruction is coming. The destruction may not be as immediate as the gratification, but it is unavoidable.
When I pursue my stomach above all, my life is upside down as I have removed God from his proper position in my life. This always causes me some injury, even if that injury is only to my relationship with God.
As my appetites are destructive, I must be ruthless and violent with my god-stomach, abandoning it continuously. My stomach makes a terrible god. Daily, I must turn from it to pursue the only real God.