Remember the t-shirts that had the message: “______________ is life, the rest is just details” written on it?
It is not uncommon for people to have one or two passions that dominate their lives.
Some live as if football is life and others live as if politics were life and still others live as if family were life. We have a tendency to make something the focal point of our lives.
Disciples of Jesus need to recognize our tendency to elevate a passion to the ultimate position in our lives. It could be a good thing like family and career or it could be a destructive thing like drugs and partying.
It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is that we recognize our ability to do this.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is for knowledge and understanding: Paul wanted his readers to know what really mattered in life.
For Paul what mattered in life wasn’t whether or not the Republicans controlled the government, who was going to play in the Super Bowl, how much you weigh, or the amount of money you make.
It is not that these things don't matter, but at most they are secondary issues.What ultimately matters is the way we live.
In other words, Paul wanted to make sure that his readers lived lives that represented Jesus and honored God.
This is hard to do.
We usually think in terms of how we can avoid bringing dishonor to God’s name. Trying not to dishonor God is not the same as intentionally doing things that glorify Him.
I think this is where many of us are at in our walk with Jesus.
We are satisfied with trying not to sin, trying to avoid what God prohibits, and we miss truly demonstrating God's character to the world. We are content with not hating our neighbor rather than truly loving him.
What we need is a shirt that says, “Following Jesus is life. The rest is just details.”
Following Jesus through the ups and downs of life is the way we demonstrate his character in this world.
That is precisely what we are created to do.