Some folks at our church recently returned after four weeks in Arizona. Ask them how it was . . . especially the lady who is “always cold” . . . and they’ll tell you it was wonderful . . . wonderfully hot! How hot? Well, hot enough one day for them to experience a rain shower where the rain never hit the ground . . . where you can see the rain leaving the clouds but evaporating before it reaches the earth . . . low humidity and high temperatures result in the atmosphere absorbing the rain before it touches down. That’s hot! It’s also what came to mind this morning as I was reading in Philippians . . .
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (Philippians 2:14-17 ESV)
That Paul was the believer’s number one cheerleader is beyond dispute. Next to sinners being saved, Paul was bent on encouraging saints to be solid . . . that they might live in a manner worthy of their calling, worthy of the gospel, and worthy of the Lord who had called them (Eph. 4:1, Php. 1:27, Col. 1:10). That they would work out the practical details of their new life in Christ as God worked in them, enabling them to know Him, to know His will, and to walk in His ways (Php. 2:12-13). That they would be “fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10). (Thanx Bob for putting Col. 1:10 on my radar!)
And to that end . . . Paul would go to the nth degree . . . even if it meant being “poured out as a drink offering” (Php. 2:17).
Drink offering . . . kind of an Old Testament phrase in a New Testament world. The drink offering was an integral component of the Old Testament system of sacrifices . . . wine poured out on the altar of flames . . . most often as an accompanying offering to one of the other “offerings by fire” . . . vaporized . . . only a lingering sweet aroma remaining. Paul said, I’m willing to be that sweet smelling vapor upon the sacrificial offering of your faith.
Paul would gladly pour out his life . . . evaporate . . . leave no indicator of his presence . . . if it propelled those he had seen come to Christ to offer their “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). Like that Arizona rain, he would be privileged to be consumed before “hitting the ground” for the sake of lives lived for the glory of God.
And if Paul had the mind of Christ . . . and he did . . . and if Paul was compelled by the Spirit of God . . . and he was . . . then how can I not pause and reflect on the importance of lives well lived for Christ . . . and, on the sacrificial nature of the beloved apostle. Paul, perhaps the greatest of the apostles, but who considered himself the chief of sinners (1Tim. 1:15), was willing to pour out his life for the sake of the children of God. Paul, who, like His Lord, considered others above himself, emptying himself, taking the form of servant . . . becoming obedient even to death if need be . . . willing to evaporate as a drink offering . . . that others might realize their full potential in the faith . . . and that the Christ of their faith might be exalted in and through them.
How important was a “worthy walk” to Paul? . . . Pretty! How invested would he become that others might walk such a walk? . . . Totally!
O to be poured out for the bride of Christ . . . to be a sweet smelling aroma . . . by His grace . . . for His glory . . .