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 are life and still others live as if family is 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 let one passion dominate our lives.
Perhaps this tendency is behind Paul’s prayer for the Philippians — he wanted his readers to know what mattered most in life.
For Paul what mattered in life wasn’t who controlled the government, who would play in the Super Bowl, what the number on the scale is, or the amount of money in your bank account. It is not that these things don't matter, but they are secondary issues.
What ultimately matters is the way we live.
In other words, Paul wanted to make sure his readers lived lives that represented Jesus and honored God.
Living that way 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 choosing to do those things that honor Him.
I think this is place 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, but we are not trying to demonstrate God's character to the world. We are content with not hating our neighbor rather than truly loving him.
For us to have a passion for following Jesus it is essential that we move past just trying not to sin to living a life that demonstrates God’s character. A life that is is characterized by love, joy, kindness, generosity, and forgiveness.
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.