Following on the Coat Tails

9 May

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (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: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) Philippians 3:17-19

You know, there are certain verses in the Bible that if I got to choose I would rather skip over. They are hard to swallow and accept – hard to understand and realize as the truth.

As I read over these verses during an evening service, I was struck with the reality that this can certainly apply to those who were raised in Christian homes, acted under the pretense that ‘all is well being in love with Jesus’, and then somewhere along the way departed from the way which they once knew was right.

They were once the ones that walked the narrow path that we follow. They once shared similar goals and dreams for higher and heavenly things. They once fellowshipped over the sufferings of Christ and fed from the same table we feed from.

But now, with tears glistening in our eyes, we look out and realize that they are now living in such a way that would describe them as the enemies of the cross of Christ. That cross that appears before us is now scorned and scoffed at. The cross that bore the body of our Saviour, who took our punishment which we so rightly deserved, is now to them a laughing stock. We recognize, with sorrow, that they only walked along with us by hiding behind the testimony and life of the sincere ones, hanging only onto their coat tails and not allowing the truth to take a deeper hold of their lives.

It was the enemies of the cross that stood there and mocked, laughed, and reviled our Saviour. Those who have taken on the ways of the world and are now being led blindly by the traditions of men and worldly affections – is this not what they do? Their lifestyle and habits make a mockery of Christianity and our Saviour.

At the end of their so-called pleasurable days, they’ll look back and will see a life that is now destroyed and ruined. Their testimony was shattered to pieces. Their conscience seared with a hot iron. Their light, which once shone brightly, now hides under a bushel and has been snuffed out with just the scent of smoke arising from the ashes. They’ll see they lived for themselves and their own gratification. They’ll realize they lived boasting of the things which are shameful and despised of in the sight of God. They’ll sorrow after the thought that their life was consumed with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All will be burned up and what will they have to show for Christ and His glory?

We who stand by and sorrow after a godly sort can only pray, hope, and trust in the Lord God Almighty. All we can do is rest in the fact that God is the revealer of hearts and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He, alone, can perform a perfect work. He is able for there is nothing too hard for Him. He is the Master of Miracles.

Yet, our responsibility, here and now is to mark them as an example and as we do take a look at our lives. Are their issues, desires, or thoughts that are creeping into our hearts that are not after a godly sort? Are they associated with those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ? Will these burn up as rubble and have no impact for Christ’s glory and honour?

We must beware. We must arm ourselves against evil which so often arrays itself as pleasurable and innocent. Keeping ourselves in God’s Word, seeking His face alone, confessing our sins, and desiring for our Lord to have His perfect way in our hearts and lives will keep us from faltering and will keep us steadily walking down the straight and narrow path that leads to Christ alone. His glory will be completely manifested at the end of this road. His perfect likeness will be seen at this end. The deepest and most intimate communion we will ever experience will be at the end of this road where Jesus abides.

Mark those who follow after Christ with passion and zeal; it’s for our own edification. Examine our hearts. Seek God and live for Him that we may be His joy and crown for all eternity.

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3 Responses to “Following on the Coat Tails”

  1. Abby Martin May 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm #

    Thank you very much, Sara, for posting that…it was very good and appropriate right now for me, with some things I’ve had to deal with, or am struggling with right …thank you again. 🙂

  2. Heather May 10, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    How sadly true this is! Many of the young people I grew up with in Christian school now live lives that simply break my heart. They have wandered so far away from what we were taught for so many years. I wonder in amazement at how this can take place, and like you, simply look to Jesus in faith and pray that their hearts will be turned back to Him. Praise the Lord for his unchanging and forgiving grace!

  3. Lauren Christine May 10, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Such truth, Sara. It is truly heartbreaking, and especially so when it involves your extended family. But we never know what God has in store for the future, and what kind of restoration and peace He may bring to their lives in His time. We must always pray for this! 🙂

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